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Alan Purdue reaches Pelly Crossing finish line

Copyright: MarkKellyPhotography.ca

As our fourth and last finisher, Alan Purdue, from Scotland reached the Pelly Crossing 300 mile finish line at 17:06 today. After a shower and two dinners he is now getting some rest.

Most of our volunteer crew are still in Pelly Crossing and tomorrow we will all go for a visit to Pelly Farm to celebrate 20 years of our race and to enjoy the great company of Sue and Dale at their farm.

In the meantime, the results table will be updated and we will post more photos in our gallery. If you want some impression right away, please check out our social media channels.

I will also write my final race report and, of course, as soon as possible announce the details for next year.

Jovica Spajic from Serbia wins 300 mile race

Copyright: MarkKellyPhotography.ca

Jovica Spajic from Serbia wins the Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra 2024 300 mile race from Whitehorse to Pelly Crossing. Avoiding the dangerous trail just before McCabe meant shortening the distance by 38 miles. So, we can’t compare Jovica’s time to previous winners. However, it’s fair to say that Jovica would have been a strong contender to set a new record time. His speed was very impressive and he clearly learned some lessons from his previous two attempts during which he could not reach the finish line.

After a good night’s sleep and a much deserved shower, Jovica got a ride back to Whitehorse where has a few days left to relax before he flies home.

Copyright: MarkKellyPhotography.ca

The next 300 mile athletes to finish were Daniel Benhammou and John Nakel. Both US and both MYAU veterans. They finished together but due to the fact that Daniel had arrived in Carmacks before John, in the official ranking, Daniel ranks 2nd and John 3rd. Although I am pretty sure they do not care. They are not so much here for the “ranking” and more for the adventure and to enjoy Yukon’s nature and the atmosphere created by the crew – both out on the trails and at the checkpoints. Like Jovica, they got a ride back to Whitehorse and I am almost certain we will see them again.

Alan Purdue is now the last athletes we are waiting for. He arrived at Pelly Farm this evening. Now he has to make his way back to Whitehorse and we hope to welcome him in tomorrow night. We are all very impressed with him. Alan is always in a good mood and super relaxed.

Alan Purdue is now the last athletes we are waiting for. He arrived at Pelly Farm this evening. Now he has to make his way back to Whitehorse and we hope to welcome him in tomorrow night. We are all very impressed with him. Alan is always in a good mood and super relaxed.

Copyright: Callum Jolliffe

MYAU 2024 – Days 1 to 4

Copyright: MarkKellyPhotography.ca

It has been an extremely busy few days. Normally, I get to do one or two updates on our website before we get to Carmacks. This time, I did not have this opportunity. To all of you who are on social media, please check out facebook group or instagram page, as I have the support of Callum Jolliffe who posts short updates, great reels and photos there.

Day 1 was as we expected it. Shipyards Park was extremely icy and there was a lot of ice without snow cover on the Yukon River, too. It meant that our fatbikers were able to fly, since they had studded tires. For those running and hiking it was a fast race, too. Just our skiers had to suffer.

All marathon runners who started also did reach the finish line at Muktuk Adventures. I hope to update the results table tonight for you all to be able to see the times and rankings.

It was a cold first night. As a consequence, some athletes did run into problems with frostbite. Not to a degree where they will lose toes or fingers but bad enough to have to withdraw. As a matter of fact, even “mild” frostbite for our athletes means that they have to stop.
That night more athletes had to scratch for other reasons.

For a long time, both our fatbikers were close together. However, Scott Herron decided not to rest long at our remote Dog Grave Lake checkpoint, while Ric Horobin stopped for a good night’s sleep. Hence, 100 miler Scott came first and Ric second. The third athlete to reach Braeburn Lodge was Elise Zender from Germany. She had already finished our 300 mile race in 2023, along with Josh Tebeau who also finished the 100 miles not long after her. This year both of them came “just” to train, to then return for our 430 mile race to Dawson City in 2025! In total 11 athletes finished the 100 mile race and 4 had to scratch.

Just before or after Braeburn, more athletes had to call it a day – for various reasons, like issues with the knees, ankles, heart, hip or stomach. We received a total of 3 SOS messages in a relatively short period of time. All of them we were able to attend quickly. In two cases things turned out to be not as severe as expected. However, for one of the athlete, Alex de Sain from the Netherland, it was important to get him to a hospital quickly. Alex got surgery and is now recovering from it. The entire MYAU team wishes him a quick and full recovery!

By noon today a total of twelve 300 milers have had to quit.

From the beginning our race to Pelly Crossing has been dominated by Jovica Spajic from Serbia. It’s his third attempt at the MYAU and under normal circumstances, this time he will finish and win. As I write this he is 19 miles from Pelly Crossing and our team is waiting for him.

All our 300 miler are affected by an issue with trail safety just before McCabe. Here the Yukon River has not frozen as it normally does and there is a lot of open water. Initially we were going to use an improvised trail but after checking and re-checking we decided it is not 100% safe. Therefore, Jovica and this morning Daniel Benhammou and John Nakel, all MYAU veterans, were brought from Carmacks to McCabe by car. They continued from the other side of the river and are on their way to Pelly now.

Alan Purdue from Wales is close to Carmacks now and crew just came back from checking on him. He is fine and says that “he’s loving it”.
Further south, Todd Robertson reached Mandanna Lake checkpoint. There he decided to withdraw because he saw no chance to reach Carmacks within the 4 day and 12 hours deadline. Last on the trail was Alla Bova from the USA. Our snowmobile crew is going out to pick her up as Mandanna checkpoint is closing, and, like Todd, she has no way of arriving in Carmacks in time.

The countdown is on!

The last few days have been “interesting”. After a much needed first cold spell the temperatures in Whitehorse warmed right up again. Instead of snow, we have been faced with rain, a lot of rain … Consequently, significant sections with overflow have formed on the Yukon and Takhini River. Now, with temperatures getting colder again, there is a lot of ice, also in Shipyard’s Park, which is were we normally start the race. Earlier today, the Yukon Quest decided to move away from Shipyard’s Park for their start. In a statement that was released, it says:

“The [Yukon Quest] Race Officials unanimously agreed that the icy conditions would put mushers and teams, volunteers, officials, and the public in danger if we continued to hold the start there. The transitions to the river were deemed unsafe as well, which added to the decision … “

That decision is totally understandable as dog teams right after taking off, have enormous power and speed. Ice would make this a very dangerous undertaking. For the Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra things are different. Our athletes can move over solid ice in a safe way by putting traction products on their shoes – like Kahtoola MICROspikes or EXOspikes. Skiers may have to take off their skis and have traction for their boots. Bikers either have tires with spikes or need they need to push and use traction for their footwear, too.

Obviously, any visitors who want to see us start February 4th, 10:30am at Shipyard’s Park face the same problem. We really look forward to have people join us for the start of the 20th edition of our race but if you do join us, use traction on your footwear! Otherwise you risk falling and seriously injuring yourself!

For all those of you who can’t be with us but want to follow us, we will frequently update our Facebook group, Instagram page and website. There will be a results table that will show “in and out” times of checkpoints and an embedded tracking map (link not active, yet) that shows our athlete’s progress almost in real time.

 

The all new Kahtoola NANOspikes

Not always when we go for winter training runs can we head for trails in nature. Often we will run on sidewalks, in city parks or trails near our home. This may mean a mixture of asphalt, ice and hard packed snow. For this our sponsor Kahtoola has got the perfect solution: THE NANOspikes.

The Kahtoola NANOspikes have been re-designed and give you the grip and safety you need when the more aggressive EXO- and MICROspikes would be too much. After having tried them out, I would say, when it comes to comfort on a running shoe, the NANOspikes are a game changer!

Nico Francis from Kahtoola headquarter in the US explains to us what the new NANOspikes are all about:

Documentary about MYAU athlete Tommy Chen

Copyright: Mark Kelly

The documentary about Tommy Chen’s 430 mile adventure at the MYAU 2023 will premiere on Youtube November 26th. Tommy finished our race to Dawson City 10 years ago and came back in 2023 to do it again – to celebrate a race that has had a strong impact on him and his ultra running career. It was a pleasure having had Tommy with us and seeing him cross the finish line once again!

Dion Snowshoes – our new partner for race snowshoes

From 2024 onwards our rental snowshoes are from Dion Snowshoes. They produce the only truly modular snowshoe on the market.

Frame + Binding + Cleat = Performance. The difference? Dion offer their snowshoes as separate components, which allows you to build the right system for your needs. Just pick the Frame you want, then the Cleat, then the Binding – they’ll fully assemble and ship it to you!

Dion snowshoes are tough, lightweight and adaptable to a wide variety of terrain and conditions. The modular design allows you to create the perfect combination of performance and durability for your individual needs.

The 121 Frame is their flagship model featuring an energy return hinge that allows for a smooth and efficient running stride. When paired with the Secure Fit Binding and Deep Cleat, this system is their most popular setup with it being lightweight, versatile and a durable choice for snowshoe running. It is also the combination we are renting out to MYAU athletes who are not bringing snowshoes to the race.

If you would like to buy a pair, Dion Snowshoes are available for purchase in the USA from their Head Office at DionNevitrek.com. For Canadian orders, or to inquire about International Shipping options, please go to HealthandAdventure.com.

Montane’s New Season Highlights

It’s getting colder and we are all looking forward to our upcoming winter training, adventures and of course the Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra. Time to check our equipment and see what’s new and exciting on the market. If you check out Montane’s website you will see some great new kit! It’s too much to go through here but in their menu you can click on “New Season” in both the Women’s and Men’s section and get the perfect overview. Some of the new Montane clothing that will be perfect for the MYAU we want to feature here:

Montane Men’s Dart XT Thermal Zip Neck Long Sleeved Top

A good layering system starts with the perfect base layer. The Montane Men’s Dart XT Zip Neck Base Layer is the ultimate expedition base layer. Recycled Apex Thermo Eco fabric with a brushed back offers long-term comfort and high wicking ability – moving any moisture that’s generated away from the body. 4-way stretch also allows for unrestricted dynamic movement, without compromising thermal efficiency. Polygiene treatment also provides essential odour control – perfect for multi day use during high output activities.

Features:

  • Polygiene permanent anti odour
  • Low profile collar with 1/4 length YKK reverse coil semi-auto lock zip
  • Low profile seams throughout for improve comfort next to skin

Also available as a women’s version.

Montane Men’s Respond XT Hooded Insulated Jacket

The Respond XT Hooded Insulated Jacket is the new and updated version of Montane’s Flux Jacket. It has been especially engineered for the cold and wet. Lightweight windproof and water-resistant protection is provided by the insulated jackets use of PERTEX® Quantum Eco fabric. Whilst essential warmth and further weather resistance comes from recycled PrimaLoft® Silver insulation. A perfect cut and feature set mean you are able to perform in a range of challenging conditions.

Features:

  • Sleeve articulation for added comfort during dynamic movement
  • Fully adjustable hood with stiffened peak to protect against cold winds
  • Hook and Loop cuff adjustment
  • Internal drop pocket to keep essentials close to the body
  • 2x Zipped hand pockets
  • 2x YKK reverse coil hand pockets for secure storage
  • 2x YKK Vislon zipped chest pockets for secure quick access to essentials
  • YKK 2 way Vislon centre front zip for harness compatible protection
  • Fully adjustable hem to minimise heat loss and keep out wind

Montane Men’s Phase XT Waterproof Jacket

The Men’s Phase XT Waterproof Jacket is a tough, durable shell that will deliver essential protection and enhanced movement when you need it most. Additional features include a helmet compatible hood, making this waterproof jacket well equipped for those seeking extra protection on the move.

Features:

  • 70 Denier GORE-TEX Performance Technology, with a hydrostatic head of 28,000mm and RET <9
  • Fully adjustable, roll-away climbing helmet compatible hood with three point ‘quick release’ adjustment and stiffened peak
  • Internal mesh drop pocket to stash accessories
  • Full-length two-way YKK AQUAGUARD® VISLON front zip with internal storm flap
  • 2x map sized hand pockets with YKK AQUAGUARD® zips
  • Shaped cuffs with adjustable hook and loop tabs
  • Two-way YKK AQUAGUARD® pit zips
  • Adjustable hem with cinchable drawcord to minimise heat loss
  • Articulated arms for high reach movement

Also available as a women’s version.

We could go on and on as Montane has got a wide range of fleeces, many more rain jackets and insulated jackets (down and synthetic), a great variety of pants and perfect gloves and hats. If you go on training runs when the temperatures drop, Montane also offers warm tights, tops and of course their legendary running packs. For more Montane kit we recommend specifically for the MYAU, please check out our gear list that was just updated. And for all Montane kit and some really inspiring content, please go to www.montane.com.

Feature documentary 1000 miles of chaos

The feature documentary about Irishman Kevin Leahy, who finished both the MYAU and MLAU in one winter, is available on Amazon Prime now. It takes us back to the chaos of Covid-19 and what it meant to many athletes who were training and preparing, not really knowing what the next months would bring. The film also shows Kevin’s struggle with injury in the midst of it all and how he dealt with it, in the end achieving the goal he was going for.