Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Chuck Tobin

IN THE CHASE – Nathan Detroit-Barrett of the Greater Vancouver Orienteering Club sprints Monday to the hand-off point in the relay event of the orienteering championships being hosted by Whitehorse.

Locals faring well at the orienteering championships being held here

Local orienteerers are leaving their mark on the North American and Canadian Orienteering Championships.

By Chuck Tobin on August 22, 2018

Local orienteerers are leaving their mark on the North American and Canadian Orienteering Championships.

In Monday’s relay event between the Canadian and U.S. national teams, the squad of three junior Canadians took first place with local athlete Leif Blake running the anchor leg.

The junior men completed the course at the biathlon facility off Grey Mountain Road in a time of one hour, 42 minutes ad 28 seconds, or almost four minutes ahead of the second-place U.S. team.

Each country entered two teams into the four categories: junior men, junior women, senior men and senior women.

In the junior women’s event, the U.S. was first and the two Canadian teams took second and third.

It was the U.S. winning the senior men’s with Canada finishing second and the second U.S. team third.

The U.S. also won the senior women’s event with the two Canadian teams finishing second and third. Local orienteerer Pia Blake was on the second-place team and locals Jennifer MacKeigan and Kendra Murray were on the third-place team.

Relay organizer Forest Pearson explained this morning it was the local club from the Yukon Orienteering Association which took home the gold in the expert class of the North American club championships.

Lee Hawkings, Justine Scheck and Caelan Pangman McLean teamed up to represent the Yukon and finished first in a time of one hour, one minute and 50 seconds, almost four minutes ahead of the second-place club from Ottawa.

A club from Anchorage was third.

“The Yukon men won the expert to have the best club in North America,” Pearson said.

He said between the 16 national teams and 100 club team, there was near 350 participants in the relay events from all over the world. But only the North American and Canadian teams were eligible for metals.

The North American Orienteering Championships wrapped up Tuesday with the sprint event in Carcross. Today is a rest day. The Canadian championships go again Thursday with the long event at Chadburn Lake and then wrap up Friday with the middle distance race at the Hidden Lakes.

Pearson said the championships have gone well, and participants have said so.

“They are just really impressed,” he said. “They have said what you guys have done up here is amazing,

“The quality of the event has been really high.”

Participants have pleased with the quality of the courses through the forested areas, he said.

Race director Afan Jones said they were told a top-notch event requires two things: good maps and good courses.

Both have been accomplished, he said.

Pearson did not participate in the relay as he was busy organizing, though he did run in the North American long event Saturday and the middle distance event on Sunday.

The 45-year-old finished first in the men’s 35- to 45-year-old class of 18 competitors in the long event.

Pearson said when he looked at his split times, he wasn’t the fastest runner but the most consistent.

In orienteering, he added, mistakes in reaching control points can add up and be costly.

On his 8.9 kilometre course, for instance, there were 19 control points.

It was his consistency that won him the event, he expects.

Pearson said locals do not have an advantage, as nobody sees the maps until their races begin.

There is also a rule that prohibits participants from training in an area of a course for two years before an event is held.

The 30 or Yukoners registered in the championships continued to fare well yesterday in the sprint event out at the Carcross Desert.

Among them was Nesta Leduc of Whitehorse with her second gold against the two others competing in the class for women 85 years old or older.

The championships are featuring athletes from as young as 10 years old to 90-plus.

“That why they call it a sport for life,” said Pearson.

Comments (1)

Up 0 Down 0

Helga Turner on Aug 24, 2018 at 3:47 am

My daughter and family from Nova Scotia have had a wonderful time throughout the event... including their competitive 8 year old son!

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