Race Director Update Days 1 to 3

By 6. February 2022NEWS ENGLISH
Copyright: MarkKellyPhotography.ca

The Montane Yukon Arctic Ultra 2022 started February 3rd at Shipyard’s Park, Whitehorse. As planned we did a staggered start with the marathoners leaving at 10:30, the 100 milers at 10:40 and the 300 milers taking off at 10:50. Temperatures were about – 21 degrees Celsius.

It has been really tough out there! On Day 1, initially, the MYAU did not get too much snow. Local marathoner Derek Cronmiller took off like a rocket and was in the lead right ot the finish line. Sydney Flodsted from Calgary came 2nd overall and first in the women’s division. Yukoner Lara-Rae Trotter ranked 2nd woman and 3rd overall. Benjamin and Sarah Hancock who also live in Whitehorse were only 3 minutes behind. They were followed by Keith Gayhart from Los Angeles who participated for the second time. Corey Nislow (Vancouver) and Jeffrey Mackie-Deernsted (Dawson City) were not able to finish and Edward McLean was not at the start line.

Congratulations to all who participated!

At some point it started snow heavily again. In combination, athletes reported that cold spots and winds made it really difficult.

Manfred Krause (Germany/300 miles) , David Colley (UK/100 miles), Patricia Clune (Canada/100 miles), Dale Langford (UK/100 miles), Jade Hollenbeck (Canada/100 miles), Pat Cooke-Rogers (UK/ 300 miles), all had to end their adventure at Muktuk – all for slightly different reasons but often related to the fresh snowfall.

Then we went  into the first night, during which it snowed A LOT.  At this point it was already clear that it would – as is to be expected – slow the athletes down significantly.  Temperatures went to around – 25 degrees Celsius with relatively high humidity. Which is a challenging combination. As a consequence more athletes had to call it a day. Paul and Conor Murphy to the other side of Takhini River and called for help there. Alex de Sain twisted and injured his knee avoiding snowmobile traffic. That’s of course really unfortunate. He went to hopital and the injury was confirmed. Tomorrow he will fly home and get further treatment in the the Netherlands. We wish him a swift recovery.

Local athlete Greg Newby got as far as Dog Grave Lake but had to withdraw due to stage 1 frostbite. He was brought out by snowmobile at night. Canadian Mark St. Pierre was going very strong but an injury to his achilles he had before the race caught up to him and he scratched. Russ Reinbolt (USA) also was doing really well but in the end decided to withdraw because of making very slow progress only. Yukoner and race veteran Gillian Smith pulled out because of gear related problems. Fellow Yukon athlete Julia Gerlach also had to give in to the fact that the going was just too slow. Last but not least, Singaporean PJ Toh also decided that, at his pace, it would just take too long.

All these athletes needing assistance meant that the crew and myself have been very busy. Hence the relatiely slow speed of updates here on the website. For more frequent news – also going forward to the next few days – please check our channels on facebook and instagram, too.

HQ with Julie did a great job in organising all support movement and the checkpoint crews at Muktuk really handled the challenges well. Thank you Callum, Cameron, Margo, Amanda and Tim.

Our crew at Dog Grave Lake, Pamela, Eric, Anya, Hendrik and Fabian soon were able to welcome Jessie Gladish (Canada/300 miles). Jessie already finished the MYAU 430 mile distance on foot and xc-ski. This year on her fatbike is „training“ for her as she want to complete the series and arrive in Dawson City on bike next winter. The soft snow meant a lot of bike pushing for her.  She had a good rest at Braeburn last night and left for Mandana this morning. All the snow meant we had to delay Jessie for a couple of hours to break trail in front of her. She will get time credit for the additional waiting time.  Luckily some locals also had gone in the direction of the chain lakes. So, the trail is better than expected. However, it’s still rough and just a few km south of Mandana there was some challenging overflow Robert and Jason had to get their way through. With a bit of luck this will now freeze over.

Our crew at Dog Grave Lake, Pamela, Eric, Anya, Hendrik and Fabian soon were able to welcome Jessie Gladish (Canada/300 miles). Jessie already finished the MYAU 430 mile distance on foot and xc-ski. This year on her fatbike is „training“ for her as she want to complete the series and arrive in Dawson City on bike next winter. The soft snow meant a lot of bike pushing for her.  She had a good rest at Braeburn last night and left for Mandana this morning. All the snow meant we had to delay Jessie for a couple of hours to break trail in front of her. She will get time credit for the additional waiting time.  Luckily some locals also had gone in the direction of the chain lakes. So, the trail is better than expected. However, it’s still rough and just a few km south of Mandana there was some challenging overflow Robert and Jason had to get there way through. With a bit of luck this will now freeze over.

Kevin Leahy from Ireland is on foot and currently ranked second. Like everyone else he is a lot slower than he expected. I was told he was very frustrated and had issues with his stove. The latter lead to him „retiring his stove“. It can of course happen that any gear fails. It’s part of the game. If we can, we help. Otherwise, athletes need a plan B. In any case, Kevin will get a time penalty for not keeping the stove with him. The interesting part is that Kevin is super cheerful and always in a good mood. I would say he just forgot about one of the very important rules which is to rest in time. About 12 miles from Braeburn he then finally did just that. He had a long bivvy and woke up a new man. I was not there when he came to Braeburn my crew tells me he was going strong and super motivated. He is now on his way to Mandana.

15 miles south of the 100 mile finish we have a group of athletes fairly close together – friends Connor Murray and Nathan Quinn and Brian James (all Canadian/100 mile). Not far behind Aodh O Currain from Ireland who is in the 300 mile distance.

26 miles back are Philip Cowell (UK/300 miles), Alla Bova (USA/100 miles) and Teri Polesky (Canada/100 miles). Alla and Teri had a really good rest. So, there is a good chance they will make the 3 day cut-off. For Philip it will just depend on what average speed he can maintain from here on forward. Fingers crossed it works out.

Right now it is now snowing but more snow is in the forecast. The temperatures are expected to around – 20 at night. Which means, for all those still in the race, it will continue to be challenging.

The crew at Dog Grave Lake gets a break now. At Braeburn we are looking forward to all coming in and Mandana will be really happy to receive Jessie and all those who will still follow.