The MYAU marathon participants ran approximately 780 km this year. As promised, per km 1 CAD goes to Little Footprints, Big Steps. I have rounded up the total and just made a donation of CAD 1,000. I am sure Morgan and her team can do many useful things with this money. Thank you to all marathoners for contributing with your great effort on February 1st!
Jethro De Decker arrived at Pelly Farm 03:45 this morning. He is perfectly fine and could have easily gone back to Pelly Crossing. However, we decided to make the farm our finish line. This means Jethro is our one and only finisher for the longest distance.
Ilona had also reached Pelly Crossing later last night. She had impressed us with her incredible skills on xc-skis and I will be honest, I never thought it was possible to move this fast with xc-skis on the trail we have (this is not a xc-ski track!) and in these kind of temperatures. I guess it did help that Ilona is from the Northwest Territories. So, she knew exactly what to expect. However, even to her the frostbite caught up on this last stretch and she had to stop. She herself was very surprised that it was actually her fingertips and not her toes where she was expecting it more to happen.
In the meantime, Roberto Zanda had to be brought to hospital. His frostbite is more severe and he will get treatment for several days. So far I have no further news. I am not sure if I can talk to him today. If it is possible and he want to let everyone know how he is doing I will share it with all of you.
It was a tough year. For the athletes and the crew. Later on today I will write a longer statement/summary. An important part of my summary will be my thoughts on the many cases of frostbite we have had this year. I would like to invite all this year’s participants to share their thoughts with me and everybody else following us here or on facebook. I will likely get a lot of questions in the next few days as to why we do what we do, what we thing about this extreme cold and so on? And I can of course only guess what you, the athletes, think. Some feedback I already got and it was very positive. But I have not spoken to everyone. If you want you can email me or send a private message on facebook.
At 16:05 Jethro de Decker reached our McCabe checkpoint. Temperatures are still around – 40 degrees Celsius. He has got no frostbite and looked good when coming into the CP. He is now resting and was planning on heading out again soon.
The crew checked on Ilona in the afternoon and they said she was really enjoying it. She should be in McCabe soon. Roberto Zanda in the meantime is closing the gap a bit and will be in McCabe in the early morning hours if he continues at his current speed.
Further back Frode and Asbjorn had to stop their race as they could not make the cut-off time. I admire their decision to rest, dry gear and hydrate. It meant they lost valuable time but they do not have a single problem. They made the conscious decision to be slow but safe. Rather than pushing and possibly getting in trouble. That probably was not easy. They got a ride with Bernard and Hector back to Whitehorse.
Ania, Martine and James are waiting for the athletes in McCabe and the rest of the crew will be in Pelly Crossing over night.
Like on all the other days we have seen temperatures down to – 40 degrees Celsius during the day. In all 14 previous races we have not had anything like that. For the athletes it meant still no chance to “relax” but a continuous worry about always doing everything right.
When Jovica reached Ken Lake we received the news shortly after that he can’t continue. As was the case with so many others, frostbite finally got him. He is now back in Whitehorse where he will start treatment and recovery.
In the meantime Jethro de Decker reached Carmacks and Ilona Gyapay is only a short distance away. Roberto Zanda is 17 miles out and should make the Carmacks cut-off (as he is getting time credit for Dog Grave Lake). Frode Lein and Asbjorn Bruun reached Ken Lake. They get a time credit, too. However, they may not get to Carmacks in time.
If you want to see some more new photos, please have a look at our gallery which was just updated.
This morning the crew at Dog Grave Lake re-checked if all athletes had the necessary kit to build a fire and operate a stove. They also checked the athlete’s clothing and made sure everything was as dry as possible under these circumstances. We passed on the recommendation that athletes team up if they can maintain roughly the same speed and made them aware of the risks which remain high at these temperatures. Some athletes then left.
Unfortunately, the extreme cold has led to mechanical problems. We are experiencing snow machine and generator failures. And it’s not just us. It got down to – 46 here at Muktuk and – 50 degrees C at Braeburn. In these temperatures things start to break. Therefore, we put the race on hold again. Dog Grave Lake will see if they can bring the athletes who left the checkpoint back to where they started from. Not sure if they succeed. Likely the athletes will also not be very impressed. They are fine and have what they need. However, if possible we want to avoid the risk of delayed rescues in case it is needed.
Guides Glenn and Spencer will get to Braeburn around noon. Gary, Tony and Josh continue to do mechanical work in Braeburn but may have to return to Whitehorse to get everything fixed.
Once Glenn and Spencer are in Braeburn, we will decide the next steps.