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RACE GOES VIRTUAL – Voyageur canoe Paddlers Abreast begins the 2019 Yukon River Quest from Rotary Peace Park. The 2020 YRQ was cancelled due to COVID-19 but two virtual races have been designed.

River Quest launches two virtual races

In March, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the cancellation of the 2020 Yukon River Quest (YRQ).

By John Tonin on May 19, 2020

In March, the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the cancellation of the 2020 Yukon River Quest (YRQ).

The 22nd annual marathon paddling race from Rotary Peace Park in Whitehorse to Dawson City was slated to begin June 24.

Even though the race in its usual form had to be shelved, there will still be a race on the Yukon this summer, just, like so many other events, virtually.

Over the past few weeks, Peter Coates, president of the Yukon River Marathon Paddling Association and designer of the race tracking software used by the YQR has developed the virtual race - well, two races.

The Yukon Pretend Quest from Whitehorse to Dawson City and the Yukon Pretend Half Quest from Whitehorse to Carmacks.

“You get to paddle against other people while maintaining social distancing, and then some,” said Coates in a press release. “You will be paddling against people who might be on the other side of the world.”

Using GPS coordinates by registered teams paddling anywhere over a four-day period, and then applying them to the Yukon River race tracker, Coates will be able to track the teams based on their paddling times.

Teams will only have to paddle half of the usual distances. Whitehorse to Dawson is normally a 715 kilometre (444 mile) paddle. The Yukon Pretend Quest will require registrants paddle 352 kilometres.

Half 704 kilometres in four days means travelling an average of 88 km per day. At 8kph that is 11 hours, at 7kph it is 12 hours 35 minutes. The further you paddle each day the better your position will be at the end of the race.

The Yukon Pretend Half Quest will require paddlers to travel 150 kilometres – that’s almost 19 hours at 8 kph. That’s up lake Labarge and back three times plus up to Deep Creek and back. It is possible it could be done in a day.

Once those distances are complete, they will be multiplied by two and applied to the Yukon River map.

The YQR wants paddlers to submit tracks on a closed-loop on a lake.

Once paddlers have finished their desired distance they can upload it to see how they would have faired on the Yukon River against other “competitors.”

Registration fees for the virtual races are $35 for the full race and $20 for the half race.

The 2019 rendition of the race had a record field as 117 teams started the race. Eighty-six teams finished. Thirteen countries were represented in 2019: Canada, U.S.A., New Zealand, Australia, Netherlands, Norway, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Germany, Papua New Guinea, France, Austria, and Ireland.

The 2020 Yukon River Quest was primed to be a good one before the pandemic hit.

When registration opened for this year’s race in November, it only took 9.5 hours to fill all 125 spots and a 21 team waitlist, obliterating previous records Coates said at the time.

Comments (1)

Up 0 Down 0

John Nicklin on May 20, 2020 at 12:14 am

I will be on a SUP

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