Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

STEP BY STEP - Ian Weir, the 2020 Reckless Raven male solo champion, is seen shortly after conquering Knuckle Ridge on Sunday.

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

A WELCOMED EMBRACE - Denise McHale, the 2020 Reckless Raven female solo champion, hugs her daughter Yari at the Mount McIntyre finish line on Sunday.

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

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Photo by John Tonin

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

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Photo by John Tonin

Weir, McHale win solo Reckless Raven race

The fourth annual Reckless Raven 50 Mile Ultra and Relay began bright and early Sunday morning at Mount McIntyre.

By John Tonin on June 30, 2020

The fourth annual Reckless Raven 50 Mile Ultra and Relay began bright and early Sunday morning at Mount McIntyre. Beginning at 6 a.m., runners left the start, staggered in groups of nine, to abide by COVID-19 guidelines.

The race received the go-ahead with an approved health plan and mitigation to ensure athletes were physically spaced and the risk of exposure to the virus was low.

Along with staggering the start, two aid stations were removed. At the stations that remained, cones were in place to keep runners distanced. Only one runner at a time was allowed to re-fill his or her water and grab food.

Bottles and single-use packaging were used to avoid cross-contamination.

The Reckless Raven trail features creek crossings, wetland valleys, exposed mountain ridges, forests, single track steep pitches, and periodically, no distinguishable trails.

It was a picturesque, sunny day out on the course – that is, until the finish when the clouds rolled in and the wind picked up.

Waiting at the finish line, also at Mount McIntyre, was a small gathering of people, all following the two-metre rule, waiting for the first runners to arrive.

Ian Weir, last year's runner-up, was the first solo 50-miler (80 kilometres) to arrive, completing the journey in nine hours, 30 minutes and two seconds.

During the back half of the race, Weir said he began to experience stomach troubles. When he arrived at the finish, he laid down on the deck outside the ski chalet, icing his forehead.

"I've been better, been worse," said Weir. "I was having some stomach issues for the last 30k. I couldn't really get any calories or any fluids down.

"(Calories) are big-time important; it zaps your energy, for sure."

He said the toughest part of the race was after Knuckle Ridge - because that's when the stomach problems began.

Despite the issues, Weir said the support he had on the trail, and a couple of frozen treats helped push him over the finish line.

"I had an amazing support team and a couple Freezies with about 10k to go is about all I had in the second half," said Weir. "I managed to get across the line, got my old man shuffle on, step-by-step."

Weir reflected on what it meant to win the Reckless Raven.

"I'm stoked," said Weir. "I was definitely looking back for sure making sure nobody was going to catch me."

During these pandemic times, Weir said it was great to be out competing against other athletes.

"This is pretty much the only race that I know going on," said Weir. "We are super-fortunate to live in the Yukon and have an event still be held. It's been nice, haven't done a race in a while. It was nice to be back out there."

Derek Cronmiller was the second-place solo male, posting a time of 10 hours, 38 minutes and 59 seconds. Peter Mpala rounded out the top three, finishing seven minutes, eight seconds behind Cronmiller.

Denise McHale three-peated as the solo female Reckless Raven champion. Her finish time was 10 hours, 42 minutes and 46 seconds.

As she approached the finish line, her daughter Yari ran out to meet her to run the last few metres with her mom.

McHale said it was a beautiful day to race.

"It is such an amazing course," she said. "After Blown Away, getting back to that aid station, it just feels like it never ends, but I had a good support system out there."

Like Weir, McHale said it was great to be out and racing.

"It was amazing," said Weir. "I'm just so glad that they decided to do it and they did a great job. They had to change a few things but it was just great to feel a little bit of normalcy."

Lindsay Knezevich was the second place solo female, posting a finish time of 12 hours, one minute and 47 seconds. Natalie Thivierge, the third-place runner, had an end-time of 13 hours, 55 minutes and 12 seconds.

The first runner to arrive back at Mount McIntyre was Shane Orban. He and Jonathan Hawkins formed the team Recklessly Running to McDonalds, who won the team male category. There combined time was nine hours, 12 minutes.

McMaster University, consisting of Ryan Durack and Tyler De Jong, came second, and the duo of Benoit Turcotte and Ben Lambert came third.

Vincent Larochelle and Vanessa Scharf, team 2 Non Blondes, won the mixed relay in nine hours, 49 minutes, and six seconds. They were followed by team Martial Bliss, featuring Dominic Bradford and Tiffani Fraser. Team Entropy, Thaidra Sloane and Marty O'Brian, came third.

The Joyful Runners, the duo of Kristy Petovello and Hannah McDonald, won the female relay in 10 hours, 19 minutes and seven seconds. Emilie Stewart-Jones and Emma Seward, team This isn't a ski race!!, came second, and Running from the Law, featuring Lauren Whyte and Sarah Bailey, came third.

Comments (1)

Up 5 Down 3

Ken Putnam on Jul 1, 2020 at 5:46 pm

Congratulations to ALL participants. Well done.

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