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Over the last few months a lot of communication with the athletes participating in the Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra 2022 was done by email. I will now switch to updates here on the website. That way also people who are not in the race can follow latest developments and the topics we cover.

Travel to the Yukon

I landed in Whitehorse late last night. But I guess I should start at the beginning. At Munich Airport, Lufthansa had a surprise for me in store. I do travel with quite a bit of luggage but by the terms Lufthansa state on their website I should even gotten away with a EUR 90 charge for extra luggage. It ended up being EUR 250. I would have loved to get that information before but after 2 hours of trying their hotline last week and failing to find where I can book extra luggage online, I had given up and told myself I will deal with it at the airport. Anyway, I guess what I am trying to say is that surprises with luggage can always happen.

Another thing that became obvious in Munich is that check-in can be slow. All it takes is some less experienced staff and you spend about 30 minutes at the counter. They needed to check all Covid-19 related paperwork and deal with some questions I had. The people behind me who were late for their flights were not amused … So, I recommend being at the airport earlier than you normally would.

Upon arrival in Vancouver, Lufthansa told the passengers that any luggage for connecting flights will go straight to the final destination. No picking up luggage and bringing it through customs. I have no idea if this is now true for all countries/flights/airlines? I am sure you will also be told when you get to Vancouver or Toronto.

They don’t make you fill in the paper forms anymore that you used to hand in with the border control agent. I thought maybe they use the ArriveCan App for that. But I was wrong. Upon arrival you get to an area with touch-screen terminals and you need to answer travel information there and get a printed receipt – that you then hand in at border control.

The gentleman who controlled me informed me that I am selected for a random Covid-19 test. I had not pre-registered because I had no Canadian phone number. When then registering at the counter of the test center, I needed to give the full Canadian (hotel) address, my email and also a Canadian phone number. I ended up giving them the phone number of the hotel I am staying at. In hindsight, I could have done this before when pre-registering and used this number. It did not delay my testing by too much. I think maybe 5 to 10 minutes. The test was then done and I was told I can continue to the Yukon – no questions or discussions about my ArriveCan App, quarantine plan, etc. You get some information sheets that confirm what we all already know, i.e. once in Whitehorse, you need to quarantine until you receive the test result. And I will get back to that later. Overall, I would say the test procedure from start of conversation to end took about 20 to 30 minutes. I have no idea if they would always only get the right amount of random tests or if there is potential for a bottle neck?

Once in Whitehorse, another little surprise. At the moment, there are no hotel shuttles. All my luggage arrived and then I went outside where quite a few other travellers were waiting for taxis. You normally don’t have to call a taxi. They will keep coming for as long as there are people waiting. Since I was pretty much last in line, it took a while …

Your stay at the Best Western Gold Rush Inn

Check-in at the Gold Rush Inn was quick and the staff on duty was helpful and very friendly. Please keep in mind that you wear your mask in the hotel and that you are not to leave your room until you get a negative test result – hopefully the next day. Until you get the test result you need to order food to your room. I will confirm with front desk if they can set up some kind of room service.

Delayed test results

Now we get to the tricky part. When you get tested in Vancouver (not sure if it’s the same in Toronto), you get informed that it takes 1 to 3 days to get your test results. If you do not have your test results after 2 days, you can call a phone number. However, if they are slow because there are too many people to test and not enough staff, a call may not have too much impact/speed things up.

Therefore, we are faced with a scenario where some of you are stuck in quarantine for up to 3 days. It may totally mess up your pre-race schedule. That’s why I want to make the promise to you that we will find ways to deal with it. We are in this together now and if you really are stuck for 3 days, you will still get your MYAU experience. Whatever it is, we will figure out a solution. And don’t get too worried about it because A) the 3 days are likely just a worst case scenario they have to communicate and B) if it happens, we can’t change it anyway.

The marathon

For the marathon there are not too many changes. Just some marathon-specific reminders:

  • You need to join us during the online briefing February 2nd at 9 AM. Invitation email with a link (zoom meeting) will follow. We will start with the marathon details and then you can leave the meeting early. If you absolutely can’t make the briefing, I will post a written version of it here in the news.
  • There is no gear check for marathoners. You need to have all the gear you need to cope with the temparature range of the day. And depending on the day’s weather and your speed, this range could be anything from + 5 degrees Celsius to – 45 degrees Celsius. Also, you definitely should take a headlamp with you. Just in case.
  • As always there is minimal support, i.e. we have a roughly half-way point at Takhini Bridge with hot water and we have the finish line at Muktuk. At Muktuk you can have a meal and something hot to drink.
  • If you have friend and family following you that day, they can see you at Takhini Bridge – but they can’t give you any food or drink. Also, I am not sure what the snow situation is like driving down to the river. I hope it will be fully ploughed and there won’t be a problem, but I can’t promise it.
  • All local runners who have family or friends picking them up at Muktuk, please let me know. Then I won’t book a transfer.
  • Marathoners can give us a drop bag for their finish line. Like any drop bag it needs to clearly marked with a name, race number and „Marathon“ or „Muktuk“. Hand in of the drop bags at the Best Western Gold Rush Inn (Town Hall) from February 2nd from 17:00 until 22:00.
  • IMPORTANT: Marathoners initially run past the Muktuk checkpoint. You do not enter the Muktuk property when you get there. You run past it until you get to a turn-around some km ahead. We have a snowmobile guide parked at that point. When you get to where this guide is, you turn around and then, once back at the Muktuk property, you leave the Takhini River.
  • If you have friends and family come pick you up at Muktuk, please tell them:
    • To drive carefully once they are on the driveway to the Muktuk Lodge (there could be dog teams crossing!).
    • The driveway around the dogyard needs to remain clear, i.e. they must not block it with parked cars.
    • If they want to say „hi“ to the dogs, they must approach Muktuk staff first.
    • Unfortunately, they can’t go into the lodge to warm up – they must use their vehicles for that.
    • When they leave the car and interact, they should keep their (2 m) distance and wear masks.

Some reminders to all athletes

  • If you have not done so already, remember to get your eTA (electronic travel authorisation) for Canada.
  • Remember to download and use the ArriveCan App.
  • Follow the pre-travel test requirements.
  • Make print-outs of all your travel related paperwork (e.g. vaccination certificates, pre-travel test result – all these documents should be in English).
  • Don’t forget to do you BICO and email your pdf-certificate to me.
  • Don’t forget to take the originals of all your Application & Waiver forms with you (unless you already sent it to me via postal service).
  • Don’t forget to take the copies of your filled-in Application & Waiver forms with you.
  • Don’t forget to bring your proof of insurance with you (e.g. copy of the certificate). Please do not hand in the full set of terms and make sure whatever insurance you have it does not exclude an event like the MYAU.
  • Please make sure you take with you whatever technology you need to be able to attend a zoom online meeting.
  • Please make sure you have enough masks with you (and I am not talking about balaclavas ;-).
  • Most important of all, please take some patience with you and a whole lot of humour.

Distribution of rental gear

It’s my goal to have all rental gear distributed to the athlete’s rooms. I want the gear to be there upon your arrival – provided hotel management are okay with that.

Gear test

All athletes who do the training course do not have to come to a separate gear test. All athletes who are not in the training course, I will soon communicate the schedule for it.

Race start

We still plan on having our start at Shipyard’s Park. There will be transport offered to bring the pulks to the start line. Athletes then either need to walk (it’s about 15 to 20 minutes) or take a taxi.

In order not have an issue with the max. 50 people limit we may implement a start in intervals. Details will follow.

It’s hard for me to have to say it but I would ask any locals not to come to the start line this year. I am not sure how authorities would „count“ you. Even if you keep a certain distance I imagine visitors may be counted a spart of the overall 50 person limit. Also, if it’s very cold we can’t give you access to the Shipyard’s Park building. It’s for athletes and crew only. BUT even athletes likely can only access the building to use the washroom.

Weather and trail update

As these last few weeks have confirmed, regarding the weather, anything is possible. From +5 degrees Celsius during the daytime to -55 degrees Celsius at night. It’s too early to make prediction right now. Yes, closer to race time we will have a better idea. However, even if at the start line it’s fairly warm, it can drop again within a day or two. So, as always, basically be prepared for the worst/coldest.

Since the weather changes a lot, trail conditions change a lot, too. Thanks to Gary Rusnak at the moment we can say there is a trail from Whitehorse to Muktuk. It keeps being snowed in but it’s there. More updates will follow.

Another thing that is certain, is that there is going to be significant overflow on lakes and rivers. That means DO NOT STEP OFF THE TRAIL when you are moving on lakes and rivers. If the trail is completely blown in and you can’t follow it, it’s better to wait until a snowmobile drove over it again.

So much for today. Please keep checking back as there may be some news pretty much every day now.