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MYAU 2024 – Days 1 to 4

By 9. February 2024NEWS ENGLISH

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.