If you click on the Trackleaders.com logo below you
will get to the page that gives you the positions of YAU 2012 athletes
carrying a SPOT. Not all athletes in the 100 miles and none of the
marathoners carry one. So if you don't see a signal it does not mean the
person is not racing.
Please also note that SPOTs
are technical devices which can fail, be handled incorrectly or simply
not send because not in the right position to pick up satellites. So,
please don't worry if somebody's SPOT is not moving for a long time. We
will tell the athletes when they get to a checkpoint and try to fix the
So, enjoy following the
100 mile race report from Derrick
If you are thinking about
entering the YAU 100 mile race in 2013, here is a nice race report from
this year's second ranked finisher Derrick
Right after the race is over I
usually need to do quite a bit of running around in Whitehorse, bringing
back sat phones, return SPOTs, pay bills, etc. That's all done now and
it's time for my final report.
As in all previous
years, this YAU had some surprises in stock for us. One of them was the
weather. Normally it's "warm" when we start and gets colder as we go
north. This time it was the other way round. The further we got north
the warmer it seemed to get. And all this whilst in most of Europe
temperatures dropped more and more. Of course it was good that we did
not have to worry as much about cold injuries. However, the soft snow
and other effects of the "hot" weather usually cause just as many
With the weather not too cold and the
trail in better conditions than expected - thanks to an extra effort by
our guides Gary, Thomas, Glenn and Spencer - the marathon was fast and
did not involve too much suffering (like when we started the race in -
42 degrees Celsius one year ...). Still of course it is a big challenge
to run on snow and pretty much self sufficient for an entire marathon
distance. The winner Johann Burger from Australia only missed Denise
McHale's record from last year by minutes. Dirk Bohn followed not much
later and rank 3 went to Henry Grant and David McGahon who came in at
the same time.
So, start day was good and in the
first couple of nights we did get down to - 30 degrees Celsius in some
areas. Cold enough for Ben Crimp who was out there on xc-skis to get bad
frostbite on his fingers. I hope he is on his way to recovery. Other
problems that the athletes encountered at this stage were frozen water
bladders, too much sweating during day time and then being cold at
night, some wrong gear choices, chafing, blisters, stomach and back
pains. Still, most 100 milers reached the finish line and as competitor
Karl Shields calculated with the fastest ever average time.
Especially the first ranked Yukoner Justin Wallace and Derrick
Spafford from Ontario who came 2nd pushed their limits and a new record
was set. Rank 3 went to Verena Koenig from Austria who is currently
working and living in Whitehorse.
At this point only 5
out of 10 athletes were still in the 300 mile race. Andy Styles and
Shane Watts from England had to scratch earlier on due to blisters and
chafing. They did seem to enjoy themselves, though. The crew really had a
good time checking on them as they constantly were in a great mood and
always having fun. Pierre-Louis Besson from France was not happy with
his pace and did get in trouble due to his stomach which just did not
want to accept food anymore. Austrian Hanspeter Gunz had to stop because
the first night he could not warm up after sweating too much. German
YAU veteran Thomas Werner who participated with two Siberian Huskies was
doing fine but had to pull out because one of his dogs had a paw
injury. Then on his way to Ken Lake Eric Blanchard from France had to
give up. Due to a heavy pulk sled he was slow and experienced more and
more back problems.
Filippo's win was never really in
danger. Not even the fact that he had an upset stomach and was eating
only bread for the last two days slowed the Swiss athlete down
considerably. Arriving at checkpoints he was always full of energy and
made it clear that he did not particulary enjoy the stretches of trail
that went through forest or tunnels of trees. "Mamma mia. My grandfather
always says a forest is only nice if you have a chain saw. Now I know
why ...", he then said. Just joking of course as he loves nature and I
am sure he would never want to cut a tree unless for maybe building a
fire in an emergency. Tim Williams from England also did very
well and even though he had shin splints he managed to finish in a very
good time. Like Filippo Tim was always in a good mood. At least when we
saw him. May have been different with the pain in is shins out on the
trail every now and then. When he was not sure where to go only 2 km
short of the finish line he took a break and had something to eat. That
says a lot about his positve attitude. He knew we would come and put him
in the right direction. Réjean Moreau from Canada and Ignatios
Konstantin from Switzerland both made the cut-off in Carmacks and sure
enough both of them finished in a great effort and well before the 8
days time limit. Réjean's positiveness really impressed me and the
entire team. He seemed to enjoy every minute of it. Sang his songs,
played his harmonica and always smiling and happy. I should also mention
that Réjean raised a lot of money for a good cause. More news on this
when he sends me an email as the effort is still ongoing.
Ignatios developed a very strong craving for coke. I have
never seen anyone drink so much coke. He should get sponsored by them.
He could not drink tea and did not have isotonic drinks nor did he like
hot chocolate or water. So, coke it was and even though it is not a good
hydrant he managed to get there.
participants for their great effort and I hope we see you all back in
one the future YAUs.
I want to take this
opportunity to thank everyone involved. My (senior vice president ;-)
Diane, Friedhelm and Rebecca from the medical team, volunteers Jim,
Jemma, Kim, Jo, Fisse and Fabien, the great crew on snowmobiles Gary,
Thomas, Jan, Glenn and Spencer, Jessica and Mike who ran Dog Grave Lake
CP, all other checkpoints, especially Rivendell Farm, McCabe Creek and
Pelly Farm who always welcome us in their homes and on their properties,
the Carmacks Rec Centre and staff, Braeburn Lodge, Selkirk First Nation
and Don Banks from Scuttlebutt Lodge and Shelley for holding the
training course. Thank you all!
Last but not least I
want to thank our sponsors: Montane for the nice shirts and support (saw
lot's of athletes with Montane gear this year and very happy - so check
out their stuff), Lestra, Kahtoola, Tourism Yukon, High Country Inn,
City of Whitehorse, the Deli, Driving Force, Coast Mountain Sports and
of course the Yukon Quest. The race would have been impossible without
After the YAU is before the
Interest in our 10th anniversary
edition in 2013 has been enormous. As you may have seen next year we
will also have our 430 mile distance again. I will get everything ready
over the next couple of weeks and hope to be able to accept entries by
the end of February.
Race start in 2013 should be
February 3rd but this is subject to confirmation as I first need to be
sure the Yukon Quest starts on February 2nd.
February 12th, 02:00 (local
Both Réjean and Ignatios reached
the 300 mile finish safely and well befor the cut-off time. They are
fine and now resting. The entire crew is also getting some rest before
we go on the 5 hour drive back to Whitehorse tomorrow. Then the race is
Once we had our little party get together at
the High Country Inn I will write my final report and I should have a
few more photos to put online.
February 11th, 16:35 (local
Tim Williams arrived at 16:25 in
Pelly Crossing finishing 2nd place in our 300 mile race. His shin
splints have been painful but could not stop him. Right in Pelly
Crossing Tim took a wrong turn because one of our markers was down. You
would think that he'd be angry and running around becoming anxious and
nervous. Not so Tim. When the crew found him he sat on his sled and had
some late lunch.
Réjean and Ignatios are on the Pelly
Farm road and heading towards the finish line. It will take them a
while yet. Especially Ignatios as he hardly rested and also is
struggling with shin splints.
February 10th, 15:20 (local
If you are following the SPOT you
already know that we have a 300 mile winner. Filippo Genucchi from
Switzerland arrived back at Pelly Crossing at 13:34 way ahead of Tim
Williams. Filippo is fine. Some bad blisters and of course tired but
nothing out of the ordinary.
Tim is approaching Pelly
Farm and Réjean is resting at Pelly Crossing. They all have their
little aches and pains but should be fine to reach the finish in time.
The same goes for Ignatios who should be here in Pelly Crossing shortly.
The warm weather here is totally crazy and unusual.
And it's not even good for the race as the trail gets soft and makes
the going tough.
Since all is looking good I will
treat myself to a night on the trail and soon leave for Pelly Farm. From
there I will walk towards Réjean and Ignatios to cheer them on. Jo from
our volunteer team will join me and continue towards Pelly Crossing. It
will be interesting for her as she plans on returning with a team of
participants in 2013 to do the 430 miles.
February 9th, 20:55 (local
Tim arrived at Pelly Crossing and
is feeling fine. He is of course tired and his shin splints bother him
but I don't think it will stop him from continuing on to Pelly Farm as
soon as he has had a good rest.
Réjean is still at
McCabe and Ignatios will hopefully get there soon. The good news for
both is that most of the overflow on the next leg has frozen over. This
can change all the time but with a bit of luck their feet won't get too
Filippo is approaching Pelly Farm and about 8
February 9th, 18:15 (local
I just got back from Pelly Farm
where I left Diane from our volunteer team to wait for Filippo who
should arrive there tonight. You think you know someone with a long
drive way? How about a drive way of about 30 miles!!! That's the
distance from Pelly Crossing to the farm. I am glad I had my 4-wheel
drive from Driving Force (formerly known as
So, Filippo is doing good. The overflow on
his ways to Pelly Crossing had already pretty much frozen. The moon was
great and he enjoyed some Northern Lights. The trail he is on now is
beautiful but also challenging. It's soft in places and seems to go on
Réjean is already at McCabe Creek and
Ignatios will arrive there shortly. Tim is estimated to arrive in Pelly
Crossing in a few hours. He does have shin splints but I hope he can
February 8th, 20:45 (local
Well, you don't see him much in
this video but I am sure Réjean's friends and family will recognize the
voice. Not bad for someone who just walked 170
February 8th, 20:05
Réjean arrived at Carmacks 18:50 and
well before cut-off. That is really great news as his chances of
reaching the 300 mile finish are now excellent. From past experience
almost all athletes who get here within 4 days and 12 hours also arrive
in Pelly Crossing in time. He looks very fit and motivated. I am told he
even sang a sond when he walked towards the checkpoint. Réjean was
really happy when it got colder earlier today. "The warmer temperatures
are very difficult. It's hard to manage the layers in order not to
sweat. When it's colder it's much easier", he said.
Travelling north on the
highway I caught up with Filippo at McCabe Creek. He had a hard time on
the last leg as his stomach was acting up. Now all seems fine again. By
now he is already on his ways to Pelly Crossing. It is a short stage
with "only" 28 miles. However, it will be a tough one due to a lot of
overflow. So, it's good that temperatures are not expected to drop much
below - 20 degrees Celsius.
As I write this Glenn and
Spencer are checking on Ignatios who needs to try and gain a bit more
speed on his final miles to Carmacks. He can make it and I hope when
they tell him it gives him the boost of motivation he needs.
February 8th, 06:48
Tim Williams just arrived
at Carmacks. After a 6 hour bivy out on the trail just before Carmacks
he looks very well rested and also says he feels fine. He probably will
only stay for a short while and use the light of day to get to McCabe
Réjean is on the move and has
good chances of reaching Carmacks before the cut-off at 10:30 PM. For
Ignatios it will be tougher. He will only make it if he does not rest
too long and gains some speed during daytime. I hope the sun will help
lift his spirits and make him fly over the trail.
February 7th, 20:11
Filippo just arrived at
Carmacks at 18:50 and he looked as if he just walked a couple of miles.
Very impressive. He is so focused he did not even want to have a shower.
Just eat, sleep and leave in about 3 hours.
today unfortunately Eric from France also had to scratch. He was on his
way to Ken Lake when his back started hurting more and more and he
decided to call it a day.
Réjean is at Ken Lake and
Ignatios approaching. Tim Williamson will reach Carmacks soon.
Important info for the
athletes who finished or scratched and are still in
The shirts that were stuck
in customs finally arrived. I left some size medium and large at the
front desk of the High Country Inn. Please feel free to go there and
pick your shirt up. If you are a different size, please send me an email
and I will either also get it to the High Country Inn or send it by
7th, 10:15 (local time)
Fotos are being
uploaded as I write this.
I want to thank Jessica
and Mike Simon for setting up and running Dog Grave Lake checkpoint so
well. All athletes really enjoyed their stay in this remote place. Also,
a big thank you to Thomas de Jager, owner of Yukon Wide Adventures.
Thomas was trail guiding for the first three days and has provided us
with a lot of his excellent equipment. As a matter of fact Jan, one his
guides, is still out there taking care of Ken Lake checkpoint together
with medical volunteer Rebecca. They have not had much too do yet but
seem to be doing fine cutting fire wood and enjoying mother
All remaining 300 mile
athletes are doing fine and handling their SPOTs really well. So, we can
follow them through Trackleaders.com.
Diane, Jo and Gary from the crew are on their way to Carmacks. They
will get our checkpoint at the Carmascks rec centre ready and Gary will
drive towards Ken Lake checking on Filippo who we are expecting in
Carmacks around 11:00 PM.
Glenn and Spencer are on
their way from Braeburn to Ken Lake to check on Ignatios, Réjean and
Tim has reached Ken Lake checkpoint and is
likely to leave shortly. When I last saw him he was doing really well.
We also do get his SPOT signal now and should be able to follow his
further progress without problems.
February 7th, 07:30 (local
I should add that Pierre-Louis and
Ben also came to Whitehorse with me last night. Only Thomas is going to
stick around with the crew and move up north with us for a while.
Foto load up is slow but I will have another go at
it now. So, soon you should see new photos from the first few days in
Just in case it is confusing anyone. The
checkpoint Ken Lake on Trackleaders.com is slightly south of the
position that is marked in the map. That is why Jan and Filippo are not
"parking" at the point a bit further north.
February 7th, 00:29 (local
Just some quick news before
tomorrow I should have more time to update as Carmacks where we will
stay will have Internet.
Andrew Styles and Shane
Watts had to scratch after Dog Grave Lake. They had trouble with
blisters and chafing. Otherwise, they are fine. After a long ride on a
ski-doo they arrived in Braeburn and are now back in Whitehorse.
Pierre-Louis Besson from France did reach Braeburn
but decided not to continue on towards Pelly Crossing. His stomach was
giving him too much trouble.
Ben Crimp was the last
athlete in the 100 mile race and finished earlier tonight on his
German Thomas Werner withdrew from the 300
miles which leaves 5 athletes in the competition.
Currently in the lead for this distance is Filippo
Genucchi who should be in Ken Lake as I write this.
5th, 22:54 (local time)
Justin Wallace from
Whitehorse sets new record and wins 100 mile
We knew yesterday morning that
Justin would be fast. I do admit that I did not expect it. Simply
because I did not know him. Friends of his were not as surprised. I am
told he trained very hard and used any excuse to go to places pulling
his sled rather than taking a car. Not just once he showed up with an
iced up face mask at friend's places after a long run. And it paid off.
Justin reached the finish line in Braeburn at 08:13 this morning, 21
hours and 41 minutes after race start and won the 100 miles. And not
only did he win. He also broke the existing record by more than 2 hours!
It does need to be said that another local, Greg McHale, was faster in
2011, only needing 20 hours and 7 minutes. However, Gred was in the 430
mile race. So as far as the 100 mile race is concerned the record is now
Derrick Spafford from Kingston, Ontario
came second after 23 hours and 18 minutes. Which by the way is also
faster than the previous record. Austrian Verena Koenig who lives and
works in Whitehorse came in third overall and first in the women's
category. She arrived at famous Braeburn Lodge at 14:25, 27 hours and 53
minutes after the start in
Unfortunately, some athletes had to
scratch. Kristi Bane Allen from Whitehorse who was in the 100 mile race
had to stop at Dog Grave Lake due to exhaustion. Austrian Hanspeter Gunz
scratched at the same checkpoint. He had a hard time managing last
night's cold of about - 30 degrees Celsius. Peter Muller from Australia
also withdrew for the same reason. He had some issues with his equipment
and preferred not to continue.
Other than that
everybody really enjoyed the last night and the following day on the
trail. Comments I heard were "the moon was incredible", "nature put on a
real show", "snow crystals everywhere making the surroundings
incredibly beautiful", "so many stars" and even northern lights.
A special mention also to Andrew Styles and Shane
Watts. Whenever our trail crew check on them and come back I get
feedback along the lines of "these guys are really having fun out
there". Whether or not their current pace is fast enough to reach the
300 mile finish is hard to say. But it seems they could not care less.
They enjoy their adventure and that's what counts.
results and IN/OUT times please check out our results
February 5th, 00:48 (local
Results table up and
Not all athletes carry a SPOT.
Therefore, we still have a result table which gives the IN and OUT times
for all athletes at all checkpoints. You will find it on the "Welcome"
page lower right corner. Or you click on this link.
Photos in our
Jo Davies who is part of our -
the world's best - volunteer crew :-) has taken quite a few photos today
and I put these in the gallery for
February 5th, 00:28 (local
Perfect start for the 9th Yukon
Yesterday morning with a slight delay of
2 minutes the 9th Yukon Arctic Ultra was started at Shipyard's Park in
Whitehorse. Temperatures were cool, the trail a lot better than expected
- thanks to a great effort by the snowmobile crew - and everybody in a
The warm weather of the days leading up to
the start made us worry about the quality of the trail on the way to
Takhini Bridge (about half way point to marathon finish/Checkpoint 1).
So our guides went on some extra runs yesterday in the hopes of cool
weather during the night. And sure enough the trail was in very good
shape and our 37 participants had a perfect start and great
Burger wins marathon
winner Johann Burger
Johann Burger from
Australia missed last year's marathon record time from local Denise
McHale only by 3 minutes and came first after 3 hours and 17 minutes.
Dirk Bohn from Kanata, Canada took 2nd place (03:24). Henry Grant and
David M cGahon, both from England, ranked 3rd (04:17). English
athlete Michael McCutcheon finished 5th (04:22) and Canadians Sylvia
Margraff and Alexa Thornton came in 6th after 6 hours and 34
Due to back problem local Tunde Fulop had to
scratch at Rivendell Farm. She was of course a bit sad because it was
otherwise a great day. But since she had previously already finished the
100 miles it was certainly the right decision not to risk any further
All other athletes are still in the race and
everybody I talked to was having a great time. The sun was out and it
was a pretty warm day. The tricky part is that as soon as the sun was
gone, temperatures dropped considerably. - 25 degrees Celsius are
certainly possible in some areas on the trail. Cold enough for water
bladders to freeze as some athletes had to find
Thinking that we don't have any Mountain Bikers
and no Greg McHale (won the 430 mile foot category in record time last
year) we tought we can stay in Whitehorse tonight and drive to Breaburn
about 8 AM to see the first 100 milers finish. At this point it looks
like we may have to change our plans as Justin Wallace from Whitehorse
is literally flying down the trail. And Derrick Spafford from Yarker,
Canada is not far behind. If they keep up this pace I will have to get
the crew into the car pretty soon. There is actually a very good chance
we will see a new 100 mile foot record today!
Wallace and his secret weapon at the
To the athletes:
We are still not picking up everyone's signal. After
checking with Trackleaders.com part of the problem may be that you
switched on the units and went straight to "Track Mode". However, this
is wrong. You need to turn on the SPOT and send an "Okay Message" first.
It can take 20 minutes or so for this to go through. Then you can
switch the unit off and on again and go to "Track Mode". Leave it on for
another 10 minutes and then you should be fine. If you don't see
yourself on the SPOT page (link above), please go through this procedure
before tomorrow's start.
Important information for athletes using
Athletes who will receive their
SPOT units tomorrow please note that you need to provide your own AAA
Engergizer Lithium batteries to power the units. Each
unit takes 3 batteries. For the 100 miles one set of batteries is fine.
300 mile athletes should get some spare batteries.
Schedule for the YAU
Here is an overview of what happens
when and where in the couple of days leading up to our race
1st 17:00 - 18:00 Hand-out of rental gear, High
Feb. 2nd 13:30 - 16:00 Indoor part of
the official YAU Training Course, High Country Inn 17:30 -
21:00 Outdoor part of the official YAU Training Course, trails near
Feb. 3rd 08:00 - 09:00 De-brief of the
official YAU Training Course, High Country Inn 09:00 - 10:30
Official Trail Briefing and handing out of SPOT for ALL athletes, High
Country Inn 11:30 - 14:00 Gear check for athletes who did not
participate in the Training Course and handing in and filling out
missing paper work. Also, handing out of race bibbs and maps, High
Country Inn 15:00 - 16:00 Volunteer Briefing from
17:00 Pre-Race Banquet, High Country
4th 10:30 Start of the Yukon Arctic Ultra
In case you can't pick up your rental time at
the dedicated time please contact me in Whitehorse (at the High Country
Inn) and we will arrange a
News on the
Most of the
crew for 2012 I have already introduced. Some more I can confirm by now.
There is Pascal Broeckx who will be our race
Pascal had his premiere in 2011 and did a fantastic job. Race
a vital role in our safety net. As I am often in areas with no cell
coverage, we need somebody who can be reached in cases of an emergency
place where all the information from the trail crew and checkpoints is
collected and where they get information from. I then frequently contact
and thus I am up to date.
We also have three more volunteers. There is Rebecca
Cranfield who will help Diane Patrick as part of our medical team.
Rebecca is a
doctor in emergency medicine in the UK and has practiced medicine since
Edinburgh, London and South Africa. As a keen skier and winter sports
enthusiast she is looking forward to our great adventure. To complement
medical team, there is Friedrich Fink who is a surgeon and two times
participant in the YAU. He will join us in the first few days and you
likely see him in Dog Grave Lake. Last but not least Fabien Ngô from
is a track and field coach, loves cooking and is really looking forward
meeting all these crazy people.
Once again Trackleaders.com have
confirmed to support us
with their service of tracking via SPOT, i.e. everyone following the YAU
every 10 minutes get the position of all athletes with a SPOT – if
and operated correctly. It's no rocket science but of course it is a
device which can fail, be put in the wrong place, not switched on, etc.
everybody at home I want to already now emphasize that a SPOT that does
move or send signal does not automatically mean the person is in
For the 300
milers SPOT will be mandatory. There are two
options: 1) you have your own SPOT or 2) you rent one from
I will quickly explain in some more detail. If you have a
SPOT you just need to make sure your service is still valid and then
the device number (found in the battery compartment) by mid January.
There is a
fee to the equivalent of EUR 20 for Trackleaders.com to include you in
coverage. I will collect this fee in Whitehorse. If you don't have a
do the 300 miles Trackleaders.com will provide the unit. There is a
EUR 50 which includes the rental of the unit and all fees. We give out
SPOTs in Whitehorse and collect the money to pay Trackleaders.com.
finishing the race the devices need to be handed in.
If a unit gets lost or damaged, it needs to be replaced by
For the 100 milers, using SPOT is
optional. Procedures and
cost are the same as for the 300 milers. I definitely recommend it
Should you be uncertain if buying a SPOT is a good idea my
advise would be as follows. If you frequently do events and/or training
areas with no cell phone coverage, it is definitely recommendable. The
it adds to your activity is incredible. Also, with the tracking
friends and family will always know where you are. You can send
"okay" messages to let everyone know you are fine, you can call for
the help of family/friends and in serious emergencies you can push 911.
All athletes, please let me know your device
numbers by mid
January or if you want to rent, please confirm by the same
date as the SPOTs will
need to be shipped from the US to Whitehorse.
AND THIS IS
VERY IMPORTANT: during the YAU the help button
may ONLY be pushed if you can't reach the next or previous checkpoint
Pushing the help button also means you are disqualified. If for example
is fresh snow and you can't find the trail, you need to wait until trail
gets there or you team up with others. If you push the help button, your
is over. The 911 button is only to be pushed in an absolutely life
situation. It also means that an official rescue mission is initiated
only assist authorities. It can involve the use of a lot of resources
and rescue teams, helicopters, etc.) and cause a lot of cots for the
Please keep this in mind. 911 is very serious business! Also, please
note that pushing help or 911 does not
mean that somebody will be there to assist or help within minutes.
weather, trail conditions and your position, it can take hours or even
for help to arrive. That is why your mandatory gear, your skills to use
staying calm to make the right decisions are very, very important in
something does go wrong.
yes or no?
change is affecting the Yukon and thus also our race. Meaning up until a
of years ago we have hardly ever seen snow during the YAU. Now it seems
happen every year that for one or two days we get snowfalls. This makes
on the trail very difficult. Of course our trail crew will break trail
but with a field spread out over a long distance there are bound to be
where it takes them a long time to get there. In that case snowshoes can
make a big difference. So, if you have snowshoes take them along. You
decide in Whitehorse after our trail briefing if you really want to put
your sled or in one of your drop bags. If you don't have snowshoes there
least one place in Whitehorse (Up North
Adventures) that rents them out.
YAU 2011 documentary by Scott
In case you did not get the
message some time ago via newsletter, please note that Scott Gilmour's
documentary of the YAU 2011 is available to watch online free of charge.
Just follow this link: http://vimeo.com/30287934.
have our first "cold spell" here in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and winter
is approaching with big steps. So, about time for some news regarding
Emotion versus tradition – a new logo for
been about a year since we gave our logo a bit of an update. And there
is nothing wrong with it. However, Denis Wischniewski, the master
mind behind the German Trail
Running Magazin designed a logo for his project of
participating in the YAU 2011 which turned out so great that we printed
this year's give-away shirts. Ever since we get a lot of feedback on
with the wolf". That's why I am seriously considering to change our more
traditional logo for the emotional one. But before I do so I wanted to
how you feel about it. Should we stick to the version which shows the
disciplines of the race or should we move to the wild wolf image? Here
are the options:
gotten some feedback (please email to info[a]thegreatoutdoors.de) I will
make a decision in time for the YAU 2012.
Montane confirms discount for YAU
Sponsor Montane has
confirmed that YAU participants can get a discount of 20%
on any Montane product purchased through www.racelite.com.
To make the purchase please send an email to me at info[a]racelite.com.
For those of you who
don't know, we not only organise the YAU but also sell the world's best
for any type of trail run event through racelite.com.
Take a look
at all Montane has to offer. They have always had great gear for the
with the winter season 11/12 there is more clothing than ever before
that will keep
you warm and comfortable.
will offer the Montane YAU Special Edition Extreme Smock again. It is
got an extra big Montane and YAU logo and will cost EUR 105.00 rather
than EUR 135.00! Again,
for orders, please send an email to info[a]racelite.com
YAU Crew –
never change a winning team!
In order to
organise an extreme race like the YAU successfully you need a perfect
once again, I am happy to say that the crew will consist of just the
people to get the job done.
There is Diane Patrick who
will help with a lot of
the paperwork in the couple of days before the race and most importantly
dealing with the medical side during the race.
Mike and Jessica
will be back again
to prepare and run Dog Grave Lake checkpoint. They have helped with the
pretty much since it started and know the trails and checkpoint inside
Rusnak will be our co-ordinator for the ski-doo crew and of
check the trails and see athletes on the race course. Gary is probably
ski-doo guide in the entire Yukon. So, you're in good hands! And of
can't do the job alone. He will be supported by Glenn and Spencer Toovey, the
perfect father and son team. Both had their premiere in 2011 and enjoyed
much they just had to be back.
be more crew and volunteers and as they come on board I will introduce
the upcoming newsletters.
sleds and sleeping bags
we will offer very robust pulk sleds and the awesome Lestra Yukon Arctic
Ultra down sleeping bags for rent. You will find all information about
this in the section on gear.
Please note that the sleds will be provided for you
in the Yukon but the sleeping bags will likely be shipped to your home
prior to the race and need to be return shipped to Germany after the
Application & Waiver for YAU 2012
As of now the Application
& Waiver for the YAU 2012 is available. If you are interested
please send an email to info[a]thegreatoutdoors.de. We will then send
you all the necessary information. Of course feel free to also email any
questions you may have.
YAU 2012 will start Feb. 4th in
The decision is made. There
will be a YAU 2012 and it will start Feb. 4th in Whitehorse, the same
day the Yukon Quest starts in Fairbanks. As in past editions, when the
mushers and their dog teams start at the opposite end our maximum
distance will be the 300 miles. That way we will be off the trail in
Pelly Crossing before the fastest Quest teams get
Over the next few days the website,
Application & Waiver, etc. will be updated for 2012. So, it
willl be possible to enter the race from mid next
Updates to the
As always new learnings have come
from the race. And I immediately wanted to reflect these learnings in
Rule # 2 - Advanced English language skills
This year has clearly shown to
me that there is a potential danger if athletes have zero English
language skills. The information contained on the website friends or
family can help with translating. However, everything that is passed on
the days before the race, e.g. during the briefing or training course or
during the race these athletes won't fully understand. As the organiser
I do not one day want to be held responsible by being told that it was
obvious an athlete could not understand the instructions and thus a
I realise that this rule creates a
barrier for quite a few people who may be interested in participatig.
However, maybe it also serves as an incentive to get the necessary
skills. As needless to say, there are plenty of other occasions when
speaking English comes in handy.
Change to the Rule regarding
It was evident this year that a
couple of athletes this year simply ignored the fact that littering is
not allowed. And I am not talking about the occasional energy gel
wrapping. Some people purposely dumped their garbage on the trail.
Unfortunately, I was too caught up in other things and could not
In order to deal with this,
in future years athletes will need to clearly mark all food items with
their bibb number. That way we will know who left garbage and can
Mountain Bikers to start the race the next
This one is not in the Rules, yet.
If you followed this year's race updates you know how fast the mountain
bikers can be. And this year was really exceptional. But it can happen
again and that is why I need to do something about it. Measure number 1
is to make the mountain bikers start one day late. Measure number 2 is
to make the bikers have more and longer mandatory stops. I have not
decided which it will be but want to inform all mountain bikers that
something will change. I will discuss this with a number of people and
March 7th - Race
all my apologies for not updating the website any sooner after the race.
blizzard like conditions on the drive back to Whitehorse, we got in
Ever since I have been busy trying to catch up on things back home and
the German government happy by handing in my tax declaration. That is
my final report this time will be quite short.
all I want to thank all the athletes who have had the courage to
the YAU 2011. And of course I want to congratulate once more all the
I hope everyone's recovery is going well.
want to thank all volunteers and staff for doing such a great job. All
commented on how well supported they felt and how much the atmosphere
the trail and at the checkpoints makes the YAU such a special
done everyone! The same goes for the checkpoints. Thank you for your
for supporting the race by hosting us!
not least, my thank you to all our sponsors. The race would not have
possible without you!
race so many things have happened that it is of course difficult to sum
in a short report. So, please for a more detailed overview check the
that were written during the race. Also, I will soon put online the more
friendly results table. At the moment, if you want to check results
the table that is linked from our "Welcome" page – lower right.
about the results. There is one change. Due to the fact that David
held at Scroggie Creek for an extensive period of time and Mark Hines
upon reaching that checkpoint was about 12 hours behind him, we changed
the ranking for the 430 mile
race. David Berridge officially ranks second before Mark Hines. Mark has
informed and being a great sportsman he did not have a problem with this
Of the top
of my head the things that really influenced this race were the cold
guess does not come as a surprise), more snowfall than ever before and
guys out front breaking records. The cold and the snow also meant quite a
few problems with frostbite. It is hard to say which cases may have been
to avoid. Each case was or is different. There is very experienced
Ghidoni, winner of the 430 miles in 2009, who got his frostbite during
first 100 miles. Then we have had cases where spilling fuel was a big
the problem. Others were doing fine and got their frostbite on the last
Dawson. It seems we will never be able to avoid this hazard 100%.
hope next time we will see less frostbite again.
As far as
breaking records is concerned, local athlete Denise McHale was first in
was faster than any men and also faster than any YAU marathon finisher
before. Very soon it became obvious that other new records would be set.
mountain biker Alan Sheldon worked very hard to beat fellow countryman
Cracknell who was on bike, too. In doing so he was way faster than in
he won the 430 miles for the first time. I have to admit that I was
surprise. I expected maybe an improvement of about a day but Alan
this was not enough. As a consequence I was left with the choice of
adapt or making the two front bikers rest. I decided not to break their
and let them go. Alan’s smart decision to push hard and make 100% use of
nice weather (nice meaning no snow) in combination with his experience
that I had nothing to worry about. With James things were a bit
was caught in the Dome area in deep snow. However, we knew he had his TV
two doctors and two extremely experienced guides near him. So, in an
situation help would not have been far away.
bit further back things were also rough for Greg McHale, Denise’s
decided not to camp and wait for somebody to break trail for him to
Instead he broke trail himself. Since Greg’s SPOT was working all the
with his knowledge as a local we felt confident that he will be okay.
Obviously, the race continued to be difficult for him as only when he
the Dome our guides managed to catch up to him coming in from the north.
Greg was slower than what he had hoped but still way faster than any
foot ever before.
I jumped ahead
a little bit now … Not only did the marathon see 100% of the athletes
amongst them also Jeffrey Norris who is blind. Also, a very big
the 100 milers did reach the finish. As always, the 300 milers were
more by the cold and snow. The big news there was that for the first
have had Spanish finishers. And not only did they finish. Jorge Aubeso
Marianne Heading became the first European woman ever to reach Pelly
congratulations to all participants!
Photographs by Yann Besrest-Butler
up as a volunteer who is travelling the world and was looking for a
kind of adventure. He did a great job and was all over the place helping
checkpoints like Ken Lake and Indian River. At Ken Lake he was so busy
Ross that he almost had no chance to take pictures. But somehow in
managed to take the time and show us his talent. If you want to see
please check out his website
(password: Ultra). For all those interested his photographs are
The next Yukon Arctic
point, the plan is to keep our bi-annual rhythm and have the next Yukon
Ultra in 2013 when the Quest starts in Whitehorse again. We have had
races in the past heading towards the Quest when they started in
it had always worked out fine. The challenge for me is that my business
home with Racelite has grown to a size were it is difficult to be away
office for extended periods of time. I would only commit to 2012 if I am
sure I can manage the time off. If I change my mind it will be in April
at the latest.
February 19th/13:00 local time (Dawson
Everybody is in and
We had to bring John and
Hubert in on ski-doo and with a car. Unfortunately, the were still too
far out this morning. A full update once I am back in
February 18th/16:45 local time (Dawson
Hubert and John finally on the move
Our snowmobile crew went into
Indian River in order to check on the situation there. We have come up
with all kinds of explications for their delay but in the end the only
way to find out was to go there.
The answer I have
just received is that everything is fine. Both Hubert and John just
wanted to get more rest for the final leg. Now they are moving again and
convinced they will make it before the cut-off.
only problem is that it is snowing again. So, Gary, Spencer and Glenn
went to break trail for them again in the Dome area. Let's hope the
winds are not too strong and the trail does not get blown in again after
only a couple of hours.
February 18th/12:50 local time (Dawson
Hubert and John resting at Indian
After both Hubert and John made
camp at the place that used to be our Indian River checkpoint they moved
on to the cabin we are using now. I was worried that they may not have
been told that the checkpoint was moved but they were aware of it. The
only problem now is that they really need to get going. Let's hope they
will do so soon!
Sean Brown back in
After discussing all our
options it was decided that Sean should get air transport from Scroggie
Creek back to Whitehorse rather than bringing him out on ski-doo to
Dawson. Sean's problem on the way to Scroggie was that he could not get
his flask open to drink and he did not stop to eat. Big mistake. Instead
of melting snow with his stove or building a wood fire he just pushed
on and consequently ran into problems.
Gerd from Alpine
Aviation flew in yesterday to bring Sean back. He is now recovering in
Whitehorse and fine.
February 18th/06:25 local time (Dawson
Jerym Brunton arrives in
At 05:30 Jerym Brunton arrived in
Dawson City. He is in great shape and like everybody else he commented
on the very cold temperatures of the last few days. At the moment it is a
nice and warm -28 degrees (and I am not kidding, it really feels warm
compared to what we have had ...). When I offered Jerym hot chocolate,
tea or coffee he said "What? You don't have beer? Again?" Because I
guess when he finished this race in 2009 he must have asked for beer.
Shame on me. But he was lucky and we found him one this time.He is now resting and has
got until February 27th to fully recover when he will start walking
another 1000 miles in Alaska.
February 17th/15:45 local time (Dawson
Bruce Thompson interviewed by US national
Bruce Thompson who in previous
years finished the YAU 100, 300 and 430 mile races just was interviewed
by US national radio (The Story). It was broadcast now and it's a really
nice one. This is the link to it:
At 07:40 David Berridge arrived in
Dawson City. Current temperature is - 45 degrees C. He got a bit lost
there towards the end but instead of complaining he made a joke when we
ran into him and just asked "if he can get a cup of tea when he gets to
the end of this".
February 17th/04:30 local time (Dawson
Mark Hines arrives in Dawson at
got into Dawson at 03:25, temperatures around the - 44 degrees C. He
commented that it's actually quite warm compared to what he had
experienced on the Dome. Mark's arrival time puts im into 4th overall
and 2nd in the foot category.
February 16th/21:35 local time (Dawson
Mark Hines is speeding towards the finish
Mark currently is going very fast.
And I am not sure if it's the fact that he is so close, extremely cold
or because it's going down hill. Whatever it is, it's great to see him
go so strong. Mark already finished the 430 miles in 2009 with the focus
of getting to Dawson before cut-off, enjoying it and collecting enough
content and ideas for the
book he afterwards wrote about the race (which by the way
contains very important and interesting information for all those of you
thinking about signing up in a future year).
This year Mark
clearly came back to compete and his performance is great. He is one
fine athlete and what makes him so special is his attitude towards
nature. This guy just loves nature. He likes the cold and does not fight
against anything but rather considers all challenges as a gift,
something he happily accepts and deals with. In a calm and determined
way. Way to go Mark!
David Berridge not far behind
Another athlete who is doing
really well is David. In 2009 he had to scratch from the 430 miles due
to timing issues with another race. And he had previously finished the
100 and 300 miles. If all goes well in the next hours he should reach
Dawson as the third athlete on foot. Since he was fine at Indian River,
had a good rest there and he demonstrated that he can deal with the - 45
degrees, I am positive that he will make it.
Jerym resting at Indian
Jerym was really fast on his way to Indian River
and is now resting there. No doubt soon we will see his SPOT Tracker
John are close together
If those too can keep their
current pace and increase a little bit once they managed the Dome they
will get to Dawson within the time limit. We keep our fingers
Sean still at
Sean is with our crew at Scroggie and by
tomorrow 09:00 we will decide how we will bring him out. The main
concern is to be sure that he can be transported without getting his
hands and feet cold again. In order to make this decision I will talk to
Jessica and/or Mike directly. It's a tough call because bringing him
out on a ski-doo means less extra cost for the athlete but he would be
out in the cold more. Therefore, the question will be if more clothing
and extra warm boots will be sufficient and/or if he actually prefers a
plane as it is faster.
Frostbite - our number 1
Of course problems like blisters or simply
exhaustion occur more often but it's frostbite that the athletes fear
the most. Scott Gilmour has put together another short video for you. It
deals with the issue of cold injuries. There are many things the
athletes do in order to try and avoid it. However, unexpected things can
happen and little mistakes can have bad consequences.
To be honest with you I was not sure if we
should show this excerpt but the team convinced me that it is actually
important as it may help educate future athletes and to demonstrate that
it can happen to anyone. For all those interested in the YAU please
also note our written
information on the subject.
Mark is about to
head out from Indian River for the final leg to Dawson City. David will
follow shortly aftwards. Both are well rested with their gear dried and
no signs of frostbite. Having shown us they can handle the - 40 degrees
and colder we don't expect them to run into any problems but will have a
close look at their progress none the less.
Jerym still going
Jerym has been going strong all
night. He is now about 10 miles from Indian River and should get there
tonight. That's great timing and I am sure he will enjoy the stay with
Kevin and Yann.
Hubert and John still resting at
Both Hubert and John are fine.
Hubert is reported to be struggling for motivation. Which is only normal
as from his other ultra experiences he must be used to moving a lot
faster. Since he is so close to the finish now and we have a great crew
at Scroggie I hope they can give his determination a boost and that we
see him walk into Dawson within the time limit.
February 16th/00:57 local time (Dawson
Video of German athlete Hubert Beck - after the heavy
Not long ago David and Mark reached
Indian River. There are no reports that they have frostbite or any
other major problem. So, after a good rest they will head out again and
we should see them soon in Dawson City.
Our crew checked on Sean this
morning and when they met him he did ask to be brought to Scroggie on
snowmobile. So, unfortunatly he scratched. Considering the circumstances
he is fine. No immediate evacuation was requested and he is now resting
at Scroggie with our crew. Tomorrow we will hear from them again and
then decide how to get Sean back to civilization. The challenge we have
here is that temperatures at the moment don't allow for transport on a
ski-doo - too cold for too long. We may have a window of opportunity on
Friday. Otherwise it will have to be by small
Hubert and John are motoring to
Glenn and Spencer checked on
Hubert and John today and they were fine. They may bivy down again at
night and hopefully get to Scroggie by tomorrow morning.You can do it
Jerym is flying down the
Jerym has left Scroggie a while ago
and is literally flying down the trail. I should mention that this
crazy guy plans on not only finishing our 430 mile race but basically
right afterwards will head to Alaska for a yet another 1000 miles on the
Iditarod trail. On foot (not snowmachine). Can you imagine?
February 15th/15:27 local time (Dawson
Jerym Brunton reaches
Jerym got into Scroggie and was
fine. Jessica and Mike made a check with him and agreed that he may
continue. Sean was not with Jerym because their pace did not match. So,
Glenn and Spencer went out to check on him. There is a good chance they
will continue on down the trail to check on John and Hubert, too. They
are our guys in the back but moving steady.
Indian River is ready
at Indian River is now ready. Glenn and Kevin are there and waiting for
David and Mark who will hopefully get there this evening.
February 15th/11:42 local time (Dawson
Crew sets up Indian River
extremely low temperatures kept making it difficult to set up a Wall
Tent at Indian River, Murray and Kevin asked around in Dawson yesterday
if we could use one of the cabins nearby. And they found a place -
Thanks to the kind owner!!! Makes our life a lot easier
Kevin, Gary and Yann (volunteer, photographer,
ski-doo driver and globetrotter, soon to be Yukoner ;-) have left to get
the cabin heated up and to check on David and Mark who both are making
slow but steady progress towards Indian River.
Yann before heading out to Indian
It is - 43 here down
town Dawson as I write this. Cars are starting to have trouble to
start. It was so cold coming here my windshield kept freezing on me with
the heat cranked up all the way ... So, it is awesome that we have a
crew willing to go out in these temps. The radio keeps saying "No reason
to be out there if you don't have to" ... Don't they know we have a
race here ...
All other athletes are moving, too.
Those who reach Scroggie will get their gear checked again and will only
be let go well rested, fit and with dry clothes and sleeping bags. We
also recommend them to keep moving in teams of 2 and try to move as much
as possible in daytime.
February 15th/24:01 local time (Dawson
All remaining 300 mile athlete reach the finish in
Gabriel, Inigo and Eduardo - all from Spain - at the finish
of the 300 miles
also Eduardo Linares and Marianne Heading reached the 300 mile finish
well before the cut-off. Which means all 300 mile athletes who were
still in the competition are now safe and back in
Marianne Heading, YAU super volunteer and first ever
European woman to finish the 300 miles.
Yukoner Greg McHale places 3rd overall in the 430
Greg McHale reached Dawson City
this afternoon. He was obviously very tired and also very hungry but
considering what he had been through he looked really good. It's a shame
our race is so spread out that seldom an athlete gets the crowd at the
finish that he truly deserves. This goes especially for Greg. Not only
is he the first athlete on foot to finish the 430 miles this year (only
two mountain bikers were faster). He also broke Enrico Ghidoni's record
from 2009 by a long time. And that is after really bad trail conditions
from Pelly Farm to Scroggie, snowdrifts in the dome area and extremely
cold temperatures. Well done Greg!
Tough conditions for remaining 430
No more snow in the forecast for
now but temperatures down to - 44 degrees make the going tough for the
430 milers still in the race. Good news is the trail is better
David Berridge teamed up with Mark Hines and
they are approaching Indian River. At the moment they are in an area
where it seems to be difficult to get a SPOT signal. Of course technical
problems are a possibility, too. That is why a crew will leave first
thing in the morning to check on them. On that occasion they will also
get a cabin heated up near Indian River as it was still impossible to
set up a camp.
Jerym Brunton left Pelly Farm together
with Sean Brown. Of course, we don't know if they managed to stay near
each other all the time - as Sean's SPOT does not seem to be working -
but they are likely not far away from each other. We will try to
exchange Sean's SPOT but this may take a while.
back are John Quinn and Hubert Beck. Both of them are making good
progress towards Scroggie at the moment.
February 14th/09:30 local time (Pelly
Our guide Gary went out to
check on Greg McHale this morning. The report is: "He is going slow but
going and he is okay". So, that's great news.
McMahon reached the finish in Pelly Crossing at 08:38 this morning which
means he ranks 5th in the 300 mile race. Not long after Eduardo game in
and just now Marianne has arrived. They are all fine and of course very
Note on the side: Gabriel is also (and still)
happy because fellow competitor Gary made a special delivery for him.
When Gabriel was at the farm the lasagne was not ready, yet. So, Sue
from the Farm gave Gary some to take away ... Needless to say it was
frozen solid. But we do have a micro wave here ...
February 14th/03:20 local time (Pelly
Gabriel Santamaria Manso arrrives at the
At 03:00 Gabriel Santamario Manso
reached the finish line in Pelly Crossing and thus places 4th in the 300
miles. Normally people come here very happy but they do need some time
before they commit to coming back. Gabriel is different. He came in and
said he wants to come back and be faster. He loves a good challenge and
the YAU is a pretty good challenge ...
February 13th/22:53 local time (Pelly
Remaining 300 milers on the
Marianne, Gary, Eduardo and Gabriel
have left Pelly Farm. Gabriel will have no problem to make it within the
time limit - that is if he does not rest or slow down. The others may
make it also in time. Again, if they keep up the good
Brunton left for Scroggie
Jerym did not
wait for a long time after he was informed that he can leave. He is
already on the move and his speed shows that he is well
David is fine and at Scroggie waiting for the
sunlight (Marilyn I passed on your message to him). If possible he plans
to team up with another athlete.
Hines is about 10 miles south of Scroggie and hopefully will get there
in about 5 hours.
John Quinn made it to Pelly
Farm and Hubert Beck should follow shortly. Both have now a mandatory
stay of 8 hours. Good timing because it means they can leave in the
February 13th/20:58 local time (Pelly
Mike Thomas places third in the 300 mile
For Mike this race was a present for
his 60th birthday and now he made himself another present. He has done
extremely well and placed third arriving in Pelly Crossing at
mile race continues
After talking to the crew at
Scroggie and the crew in Dawson it was decided to continue the 430 mile
race. Mark Hines and Greg McHale have been on the move anyway as they
had been between checkpoints when we started to keep people from
leaving. Now also the athletes who have been held at checkpoint may
As temperatures will be very cold
(- 41 degrees in the Dawson area), the athletes will only be allowed to
continue if they feel fit. It is also recommended they move as much as
possible during daytime. The front runners are all very experienced and
the guys in the back will see temperatures warming up slightly over the
next couple of days. Unfortunately, this also means it may be snowing
again. We will take it step by step.
300 mile athletes running out of time
meantime, a few 300 mile athletes are running out of time. Marianne
Heading and Gary McMahon are still at Pelly Farm and if they don't leave
soon it will be tough for them to make it. Let's hopy Andy Heading and
Diane who are there with them can motivate them to give it a try.
February 13th/19:49 local time (Pelly
The crew found Greg this
morning and he was fine. Tired but fine. The situation was evaluated and
since Greg felt good and wanted to continue, they let him move on. He
is slow bu he is making progress.
February 13th/11:49 local time (Pelly
Murray, Kevin and Gary got
through the Dome. They are currently looking for Greg who seems to have
stopped. Once they found him they will call us and we will decide how to
David Berridge who sent us a help message
earlier on was encountered by Glenn and Spencer just south of Scroggie
and seems to be moving again by himself.
February 13th/09:42 local time (Pelly
Inigo and Poh Joo Toh
Inigo was very tired when I saw
him on his way to Pelly Crossing but he battled on to reach the
checkpoint at 01:26 last night. I was told that it was a good thing I
was resting in a corner when he came in because he would have told me
some nasty things in Spanish ... He is now sleeping and I did see him
smile already. So, he is fine but will not
Poh Joo Toh (PJ) sent a help message about
11 miles and we came to pick him up last night. When we got to where he
was waiting it was quite bizarre. He was sitting in a chair on a frozen
lake by a fire. First I thought it is somebody ice fishing. But it was
PJ. After a bumpy ride back he got some rest and will now wait with the
others for the bus that leaves for Whitehorse tomorrow.
February 13th/08:48 local time (Pelly
James Cracknell reaches Dawson and places 2nd in the 430
Due to the trail difficulties up
north I stayed in Pelly Crossing as it is the best place for
communication right now. From here we have been watching the athletes
and been in close contact with Pascal, our race
I don't have an exact finishing time but
James made it to Dawson and this means he placed 2nd overall. I have not
talked to him, yet. So, I don't know if he is happy, tired, frustrated
or all this at the same time. I am sure it felt strange for him to have
arrived in Dawson and the only one greeting him likely were a couple of
crows on main street.
Luigi Mazzocchi is our second 300 mile
Italian runner Luigi Mazzocchi
arrived in Pelly Crossing at 03:24 this morning and places 2nd. I was
very happy to see him finish as in 2009 he had to scratch a short
distance before the finish due to kidney problems. He is now resting and
will take the shuttle we have leaving here tomorrow.
Breaking trail to Indian
Gary has re-enforced the crew in
Dawson City. So, together - as I write this - we will venture out for a
second try of breaking trail to Indian River. A first attempt going in
from the north via the Dome yesterday failed.
At the moment no
athletes are allowed to leave Pelly Farm or Scroggie. That is until we
know if we can get a different trail to Indian River. James and the crew
with him will have broken trail by now but the problem is that new snow
may be coming in a couple of days and snowdrifts are a constant
problem. Not to mention the soft snow. Seeing that the temperatures are
going down as well, the alternative route seems the better
David Berridge right now should be at
Scroggie. I will get an update at 09:00 local time. Mark Hines is on his
way to Scroggie and after a break is making good
Thomas Muhler sent a help message and called
in from his sat phone about 17 km north of Pelly Farm. Since he was
"only" very tired but otherwise fine, I asked him to rest and then try
to go back to the Farm by himself. Which is what he did. It is
understandable that he did not continue as the now soft trail is
difficult for running but impossible for mountain
February 12th/15:26 local time (Pelly
Facing the Dome
The snowfall of
the last two days has completely changed the race. Lucky Alan. At this
very moment our guides Murray and Kevin are north of King Solomon Dome
trying to break trail for Greg and James. Unfortunately, they got to a
point where it is impossible to continue. Too much fresh snow and
snowdrifts are covering the trail on what is the only mountain athletes
have to cross. The situation is so difficult that one of our
snowmachines got stuck and they are now working hard to get it going
James is caught in
snow south of the Dome. We have had no help message from him and the
crew that is with him has not called in. So, at this point we assume
things are fine. They just can't move forward.
We are now trying to
find out if there is a safe way to get around the dome - e.g. via our
The challenge is
communication and I am glad that we are prepared for situations like
this and have Pascal who is doing a great job as our race headquarter.
Once I know if there
is a way around the Dome I have the option to change the trail and the
race can continue. If there is no way around the mountain. The race
comes to an end and we need to decide how to get everybody
When we have communication
with Scroggie and once guides Spencer and Glenn arrived there and had a
rest, the crew will venture out to meet James further north. If we get
communication to the crew from Discovery Channel that is with James we
will ask them to make their way to Scroggie and wait.
athletes are currently on their way to Scroggie, i.e. David Berridge and
Thomas Muhler. Should the race be stopped they will be informed by our
crew and they will likely return south to Pelly Farm. Should they make
it to Scroggie before a final decision, they will be asked to stay until
we do know how to proceed.
back who arrive at Pelly Farm will have to stay there until we know what
So much for now.
February 11th/23:45 local time (Pelly
Jorge Aubeso from Spain wins 300 mile
Jorge arrived back in Pelly Crossing
some mintues ago which makes him the 300 mile winner and first Spanish
finisher of this distance! He looks so fresh, I was wondering if I
should ask him if he wants to continue to go to
While he was on the final leg to Pelly, we
attended a help message from the river. It came from Luigi Mazzocchi.
The GPS co-ordinates were taken and because the position was close to
the river I took the car. About 1 hour later we were there. The Italian
had looked for shelter in a fishing camp. Bad weather and a hardly
visible trail made him decide to stop. He was quite surprised to see us
as he had not intentionally pushed the button. After some instructions
he kept on going - as the trail was broken and waiting too long would
cover it in snow again.
The ski-doo guides are working
extremely hard to make the conditions more bearable for the athletes.
As I write this Glenn and Spencer are heading out again to make sure
everyone at the back end is fine. Gary just went to bed now after
helping to find Luigi. Murray and Kevin went to Dawson despite the bad
weather and Dale from Pelly Farm and Pete, a good friend of Dale's and
the family is breaking trail towards Scroggie. Thank you
Volunteer Simone Ghidoni - Enrico's son - has
given me some photos to put on the website. If you check our gallery you will find them. Thanks
February 11th/16:15 local time (Pelly
Heavy snowfalls slow things
Tonight the snowfall had started.
Little at first and then it has picked up. Depending on the area 5 to 15
cm. Gary who rode his ski-doo this morning from McCabe to Pelly
Crossing said on the lakes it is particularly difficult. The trail had
disappeared. So, our guides were busy breaking trail again for everyone.
However, it is still
snowing and looking at the speed they are going at you can imagine what
they are facing. Our guides Glenn and Spencer are covering the back end
and there speeds seem to be okay. Gary is checking in between and is
heading back to McCabe to later base himself in Pelly Crossing. Murray
and Kevin took their machines up to Dawson to set up Indian River
assistance point tomorrow and to help James if need be. Luckily James'
SPOT is now operated correctly. So, we know where he is and that he is
moving. Again, by the speed and considering the weather conditions he
currently needs to fight for every meter.
Greg was forced to slow down but he is
moving and approaching Scroggie Creek.
should be our first 300 mile finisher. If he continues his current pace
we expect him here in about 10 to 12 hours.
The Highway is pretty crazy and those who
don't have to travel stay at home. We came up this morning from Carmacks
and travelling speed was about 50 km/h. Thanks to whoever it was who
invented 4-wheel drive!
In the meantime one more
athlete had to scratch. Pat Cooke-Rogers had to give in to her back
pain. On her way to recovery she decided to join the volunteer crew and
she is now at McCabe helping Diane.
Gandini is with us in Pelly Crossing and like Pat he is helping at the
checkpoint and doing a great job supporting us and the other athletes.
Carlos and Toni are still in Pelly, too. I
am currently trying to re-arrange transfers in order for them to get a
ride to Whitehorse tomorrow.
Everybody else still in
the race was in great spirits when I saw them today. Blisters here and
there. Pain of course. But smiles and in the mood for jokes. And no
doubt at the moment they all are cursing me pulling their sleds through
fresh snow ...
February 10th/20:40 local
Alan Sheldon wins 430
I do not have the exact time of his arrival but Alan is in
Dawson City and broke all records. He was greeted by fellow racers Andy
Heading and Frank Janssen. I look forward to catching up to
them tomorrow morning. Congratulations Alan!
We now also seem to get SPOT signals from James again. Somebody
must have switched it on for him ... For a "rookie" James has done
exceptionally well and should arrive in Dawson tomorrow.
Everybody was in Carmacks a long time before cut-off. Good
Unfortunately, Spanish athlete Carlos Garcia
Gutierrez had do scratch due to shin splints. He is not
sleeping in the gym where everybody else is resting, too.
Some of the Spanish have had problems with their SPOT. In
Inigo's case the solution was simple. New batteries did the trick
... By the time they leave here, we hopefully will get
every SPOT sending again.
local time (Pelly Crossing)
Eyerybody is fine and moving. This also goes for those people
who don't have their SPOT on or working. We know this because we are
checking on them in regular intervalls with our ski-doos. So, everybody
back home please don't worry too much. We have done this for 8 years and
I think I can say I have the world's best crew of ski-doo guides and
volunteers. All working hard to make it as safe as possible under the
conditions we have here. Also, at the moment and for the next few days
temperatures should not considerably drop below - 20 degress C. That
helps a lot!
Toni arrived in Pelly
Obviously Toni is feeling pain in his fingers but he is
otherwise fine and likely just happy that he can commence recovery. He
will stay here now until the shuttle takes him back to Whithorse in a
couple of days.
Toni Contesti in Pelly
Mark Gillett our race photographer has spent hours every single
day on the ski-doo to get the best possible pictures. I have hardly
seen him. Now it seems to be catching up to him. He walked into Pelly
Crossing this morning with hypothermia and is now resting.
When we were talking about logistics near him he woke up and
said "I have got to get to Dawson now" ... But for now we told him to
rest and get warm again.
Mark recovering in Pelly
Race against the clock
Tonight by 22:30 all athletes have to arrive in Carmacks. That
is the official cut-off for this checkpoint. Right now it looks like
they will all make it. They just can't slow down very
local time (Pelly Crossing)
Andy Heading and Frank Janssen came by here in Pelly Crossing
at about 05:00 this morning. They were in a car. So, in other words they
scratched. They said the trail was so hard, it was almost running on
pavement - something they were not prepared for and made them suffer. In
the end I think it was because they realised they can't catch up with
Alan and as friends they wanted to be in Dawson to see him finish
;-) Because that is where they were heading.
Toni Contesti arrived in Carmacks last night and had to stop
his race there due to frostbite on his fingers. Like Sam Taylor he was
brought to the local nursing station to be evaluated and treated. Diane
is with him and in Carmacks they are very experienced with frostbite. He
does not have to go to the hospital and later it will be decided if he
wants to come north or if he prefers to get a lift back to Whitehorse.
Greg McHale made it to Pelly and he does look tired. However,
considering the pace he set for himself and the fact that he now only
rested for 2 hours, I would say he looks surprisingly good. I simply
don't know how these guys do it!? I expect him to leave
The distance between Greg and David Berridge is quite big but
of course many things still can happen. And Jorge who is a really strong
Spanish ultra runner is now getting faster and faster. Behind him is
Luigi Mazzocchi who had to scratch only about 45 miles before the finish
as his kidneys did not do their job anymore. This time he is better
hydrated and I keep my fingers crossed.
February 9th/23:48 local
time (Pelly Crossing)
I am in Pelly Crossing as I write this and finally I have some
time to write a bit more of an update.
I always return to the Yukon thinking by now nothing can
surprise me anymore and every time I get proof that I am wrong. This
year it is the fact that Alan Sheldon managed to be about 2 days faster
than he was in 2009. And I thought he was already doing really well
then. I could have stopped him at some point and given him time credit
for it but I figured it would mess up his rhythm. So I kept on trying to
catch up to him and make sure he gets his drop bags and everything is
okay. At the same time I had to cover the back end and be sure everyone
is safe. As you can imagine this has meant a lot of time on the highway
and unfortunately hardly any time at all to update the website. From now
on things will calm down and you will see more frequent updates and
Of course the 100 miles are over by now. The last athlete had
made it in safely and a long time before the cut-off which is 3 days.
The overall ranking is as follows:
Hubert Gantioler, Austria (xc-ski) 19 h 26 min
Doublas Girling, England (foot) 28 h 30
Markus Fischer, Germany (foot)
29 h 26 min
Hubert Gantioler in
Only Pierre-Louis Besson from France and Shelley Gellatly from
Canada had to scratch. So, the rate of finishers is very high.
Considering the cold temperatures of -35 degrees and colder everyone did
really well. Congratulations!
Now we are down to the 300 and 430 miles. Here a number of
athletes had to scratch for various reasons. Marco Gandini from Italy
lost his footing on some ice and fell right on his knee. Consequently,
the pain grew and he had to stop. Peter Mild from Sweden was really
enjoing the 100 miles but not happy with his overall speed and the fact
that he was very tired made him decide to end his race in Braeburn.
Dominik Luksch from Germany had to realise that for a newcomer the 300
miles are quite a big challenge. He also was struggeling with his speed
and scratched after 100 miles. All other 300 mile racers, except for the
Spanish who did not show up in the first place, are still in the race.
Of course most are suffering by now but some are doing really well.
Jorge Aubeso Martinez one Spanish athlete who did come is doing really
well and currently is in the lead. Luigi Mazzocchi from Italy is a bit
more than 4 hours behind. Toni Contesti, also Spain, is already quite a
distance behind, closely followed by Mike Thomas from the UK. Gary
MacMahon and Marianne Heading, both UK, have the same pace at the moment
and are next. All other athletes should also be able to make it to
Carmacks within the time limit which is tomorrow night at 22:30.
On to the 430 milers.
Here we were faced with some very early and unexpected
scratches. First was former Austrian national xc-ski team member Anton
Hierschlaeger from Austria. He had problems with his wax and eventually
had to give up because of it. The second surprise was Enrico Ghidoni who
had won the 430 miles on foot in 2009 and was back to win it on
xc-skis. Frostbite on his toes the first night made this impossible.
Mario Oehme from Germany had stomach problems and Peter Jansen from
Germany, once more looking really strong had to drop out due to a knee
injury. Scott Gilmour who is the most cold resistant person I have ever
seen (walks around with no gloves or hat in -20 degrees no problem ...)
had to accept defeat due to blisters. His shoes were too warm. And there
is Sam Taylor who had to deal with lung congestion and after a check-up
at the Carmacks nursing station decided to call it a day. Everybody
else is still in the race and doing fine - some suffering more and some
February 8th/01:24 local
Douglas Girling fastest
athlete on foot
Douglas Girling reached Braeburn at 15:00 which makes him the
winner in the 100 mile foot category. Second place goes to German Markus
Fischer who arrived at 15:56. The third rank goes to Patti Clune. She
came in at 17:23 and looked great. I should also add that I got Patti's
age on the race roster wrong. She is 28 ;-)
A number of athletes had
Peter Jansen had to stop racing due to an old knee injury.
Anton Hierschläger had massive problems with his xc-skis and wax and was
brought back to Whitehorse today. Other athletes to scratch are Shelley
Gellatly and Enrico. The Italian 430 mile winner from 2009 was brought
to the hospital in Whitehorse by myself. That is also, why there were no
earlier updates. Enrico is fine but had frostbite problems on his toes.
He would have loved to continue because he strong but the docotor's
recommendation was clear. No more running in the cold for now.
Problems with results
table hopefully resolved soon
For some reason we have managed to make part of the results
table disappear. We are working on fixing it.
February 7th/05:09 local
Hubert Gantioler wins
100 mile race
At 03:56 xc-skier Hubert Gantioler reached the 100 mile finishi
line. He was totally iced up but really happy. "Awesome day, awesome
race", he said. I was glad to see him succeed as in his first attempt in
2009 he had to scratch due to frostbite.
February 6th/22:57 local
The race is
At 10:30 this morning the 8th edition
of the Yukon Arctic Ultra has started. Conditions could not have been
better. Temperatures of about - 17 degrees C, sunshine and a rock hard
trail. No wonder everybody was in a great mood and really happy to
finally get going.
At the start - photo taken by Yann
Due to 3 Spanish athletes not starting and a last
minute entry for the marathon the final count of athletes at the start
line was 74.
Local Denise McHale wins overall marathon
No man could beat strong local athlete Denise McHale today. She
finished our marathon distance in 3 hours and 14 minutes. That means
she also set a new record! Well done Denise. Second came Austrian
xc-skier Friedrich Gantioler 4 mintues later. Chad Ulansky who signed up
for the race last night, did really well, too. He made it to Braeburn
after 3 hours and 24 minutes. For all marathon results please check the
table that is linked right from our welcome page lower right
Marathon finish - photo taken by Yann
Mountain Bikers are
I have to admit that I expected the mountain bikers to be fast.
But James Cracknell and Alan Sheldon seem to have decided that they
want to set new records. At a time when I normally am back in Whitehorse
enjoying a hot bath and writing my updates at the High Country Inn am
now in Braeburn expecting James to show up with in the next couple of
hours. In other words, on day 1 and maybe even before midnight! No rest.
He will owe me some beers for that.
James Cracknell on his way to Rivendell - photo taken by
At Rivendell Farm
everybody was doing fine. Only Jacques Fox 100 miles, had to call it a
day. He had problems with very cold finger tips which likely would have
turned into frost bite during this night. So, he made the right decision
better not to risk anything and scratched.
Mark Hines taking a rest at Rivendell - photo taken by Yann
Apart from that all other racers are still
Last night finally my missing
Eurobox has showed up. What a relief! Along with it came yet another
group of athletes. By now almost everyone should be here.
As always by this time everybody can't wait to stand
at the start line and finally get going. I think I have pretty much
managed to personally welcome most and they all were in a great mood,
despite the relatively warm temperature. And by the looks of it we are
lucky and temperatures will drop in time for us to have less problems
with soft trails.
Training course Today from 13:30 to
16:00 we had the indoor part of our training course. As always Shelley
and Diane gave plenty of advise and talked about many important aspects
of the race. Also, the fears of the athletes were adressed and hopefully
minimized. Looking at the faces when Diane showed pictures of frostbite
I am not sure if we succeeded 100% ...
After a break
the group met again to walk with sleds and gear to a nearby lake. There
everybody had to light their stove, build a wood fire and show us their
sleeping system. Shelley afterwards commented that "every year they
seem to be better prepared". And I have to agree. All participants of
the training course were very efficient and organised. Two thumbs