Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by John Tonin

REACHING THE CONTROL – Leif Blake checks into one of the controls in the 7.4 kilometre expert course on Wednesday during a Yukon Orienteering Association B Meet off of Macpherson Road.

Orienteerers race near the Takhini River

The bi-weekly Yukon Orienteering Association (YOA) regular B Meet continued on Wednesday at the north end of Macpherson Road.

By John Tonin on August 2, 2019

The bi-weekly Yukon Orienteering Association (YOA) regular B Meet continued on Wednesday at the north end of Macpherson Road.

Orienteerers on Wednesday had the option of four courses, novice, intermediate, expert and advanced.

All the courses took the racers into the woods and eventually out to the Takhini River for a stunning vista. Race organizer Bob Sagar said he made it a point for all the courses to pass the river to see the scenery.

“The objective of starting the courses where we did was to give people some scenery,” said Sagar. “(I) consciously tried to bring all the courses to the river.”

The YOA has had different types of races since April, and Sagar said it was a good crowd this week.

“It seemed like a good turnout,” said Sagar. “I noticed a lot of enthusiasm from families and more people are doing the advanced and experts courses.”

Sagar pointed out that it is a good sign people are doing the more difficult courses because it means the orienteerers are taking it more seriously and developing their skills.

After so many races this season, Sagar explained how the trails used on Wednesday differed from the other maps previously used.

“This map had a little bit of everything,” said Sagar. “In Whitehorse, we have a lot of detailed terrain in places like Long Lake or Grey Mountain.

“Here there were areas of blank features not as many hills or banks. In a place like Long Lake with so many features if you lose focus you can get really lost.”

The expert and the advanced courses Sagar said are very similar they just differ in length.

“I design the expert course first and then I try and cut out some of the distance and controls to make the advanced course,” said Sagar.

In both the expert and advanced courses there is no limit to how much the orienteerers head off of the trails and Sagar said when planned the courses he wanted to make sure the runners had to make quick decisions.

“When you design the course you want to give them route choices,” said Sagar.

“They will reach a feature and have to decide am I going over the hill or under the hill.

“It depends on people’s skills and can they take advantage of what they are good at.”

The winner of the expert course which had 13 controls over 7.4 kilometres was Leif Blake who was on course for 71 minutes, 52 seconds. Benoit Turcotte followed in second and Afan Jones was third.

Pia Blake ran away with the advanced course which was 4.3 kilometres long and had nine controls. She posted the winning time of 42:50 almost eight-minutes faster than second-place finisher Caelan McLean. Dave Hildes was third.

Martin Slama, in 34:14, ran the intermediate three-kilometre course and reached the 12 controls the fastest. The margin between the second and third place finishers was slim-to-none. Rima Khouri just edged out Bruce McLean by one second.

The novice course which Sagar said will only be done on the trails was 2.3 kilometres long and featured 10 controls. Carl Turcotte proved to be the quickest finishing in 22:59. Runner up was Karin Keely-Eriksson in 26:34 and rounding out the top three was Valerie Bussier in 27:45.

In total 65 participants came out on the warm summer evening. Sagar said it seems the YOA is seeing consistently larger turnouts this year and that it is very gratifying.

The next regular B Meet will be Aug. 14 around Croucher Creek.

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