Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

MIGHTY MARATHONERS – Whitehorse's Adam Luciano, left and Mexico's Oswaldo Moreno Terrazas pose for a photo prior to the start of the Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra at Shipyards Park in Whitehorse Sunday. Luciano won the marathon and Moreno Terrazas finished sixth.

Yukon Ultra athletes plugging away despite challenges

Challenges seem to be the name of the game with this winter's big sporting events in the Yukon.

By Morris Prokop on February 8, 2024

Challenges seem to be the name of the game with this winter's big sporting events in the Yukon.

The Yukon Quest suffered it's share of obstacles, including having to change the start time and location and shortening the race, and the Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra (MYAU) is no exception.

Challenges so far include coping with the cold, injuries and open water.

Athletes have had to be transported past the open water near McCabe Creek.

Athletes were competing in a marathon, a 100 mile race and a 300 mile race this year.

Organizer Robert Polhammer posted another update on the race this morning from Carmacks, which was a balmy -33º C at the time of his post.

He said race frontrunner Jovica Spajic has reached Pelly Farm and is in good shape. Spajic, from Sebia, was on foot at mile 281.3 as of 12:15 p.m. today.

Polhammer said Daniel Benhammou (Littleton, Colorado) and John Nakel (Perry, Georgia) were with him in Carmacks and ready to be brought to McCabe, where they will continue on to Pelly Crossing.

Benhammou was listed at mile 223.1 and Nakel was at mile 222.5 as of 12:15 p.m today.

Alan Purdue (Brigend, Wales) was moving towards Carmacks and Alla Bova (Stafford, U.S.) and Todd Robertson (Boulder, Colorado) are on their way to Mandanna.

Purdue was at mile 163.7, Robertson at 148.9 and Bova at mile 134.8.

All of the above athletes are on foot.

Meanwhile, fatbiker Scott Herron finished first in the 100 mile race to Braeburn.

Adam Luciano finished first in the marathon.

Herron and Luciano are both from Whitehorse.

One of the Ultra 100 athletes, Alex de Sain of Amsterdam, also ran into trouble, according to Polhammer.

"Tuesday night, on his approach to Braeburn he started suffering from stomach pains. We brought him to Braeburn by snowmobile and then on to Whitehorse Hospital. The diagnosis meant he needed immediate surgery, which he got. Now Alex is recovering. It's of course a nightmare to come to a race you want to enjoy and then have that taken away from you in this way. But we are all glad he is safe and the entire MYAU team wishes him a good and fast recovery."

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