I agreed to do the above mentioned race with a friend (we put it on the race plan about 10 months ago). It’s held on the first Sunday in August in Whitehorse, Yukon Territories. It’s only a 950km drive from where I live.
The week before the race I said screw driving that far and decided to fly. Not totally smart as I can only afford to fly using air miles on short notice and there weren’t many flight options available last-minute. I ended up driving 390 km to the next closest airport, flew 1.5 hours to Vancouver and then flew 2.5 hours back north to Whitehorse. I was at least on the same flight as my partner in crime.
We got in very late Friday night. Saturday we did a little run along the trail in town (where I met Creepy Barbie) and spent the rest of the day checking out Whitehorse. Sunday was race day.
The event hosts a full marathon, relay marathon and half marathon – all on trails, single track goat trails to be precise.
Most of the folks running this one are locals and the entire event is capped at 325. There were 100 people in the half marathon.
The half didn’t start until 10AM. It’s a gun start and not really chip timed. You get this little plastic thing you have to dip into a reader when you cross the finish line. Not good as my hands don’t work well after I run so I was pretty sure I’d drop it (spoiler alert, I didn’t).
I placed myself up front with the fast folks as why the heck not. There were some really fast folks there. One girl up front was maybe 5 feet tall and 85 lbs of fastness. I saw her doing a warm-up, holy fast Batman. She ran the half in 1:35 so that tells you how challenging the course was. She looked like she could run a 1:15 on a road.
The first bit was on paved trail, then some road and then you hit the single track. People were incredibly polite about passing. The second half of the race was really hard. Some seriously steep sections (up and down and I suck at downhill).
I didn’t take photos as taking your eyes off the goat trail along the cliffs and through the woods would have resulted in a face plant or fall off the side of a mountain into a cold lake below. I also would’ve likely taken a wrong turn and would still be running out there as you had to pay attention to the trail markers (flagging tape).
Cool side note: If any of you Canadians watched the Amazing Race Canada Tuesday, the bridge the contestants run across at the end of the show is the bridge I ran across in my race.
I finished in a decent time (I think) as I was the fifth chic in and first in my age group (there were 20 in my age group). It took me 1:58:44.
The finishing medals are really cool.
Post race, I pigged out at McDonald’s (I just looked at the food as carbs and protein, that’s how I justified it, plus it was close to the hotel). A little while later we made our way back into town – walking slowly – to find a place to eat dinner. We ended up at a pub called the Dirty Northern Bastard. It sounded too good to pass up.
We left the next morning on a 5:55AM flight back to Vancouver, then I flew back to where I started and drove 4 hours back home. And I saw a grizzly bear on the drive – cool!
I am totally in love with Whitehorse, it’s so beautiful! The people are so nice too. It’s kind of like Hawaii, but in the north and obviously colder and no palm trees. I think it’s more the feel of the place that made me think of Hawaii, laid back and everyone totally wants to be there. I want to be there.
Ever been to Whitehorse? Do Barbie’s freak you out? What’s the coolest medal you’ve received at a race? What’s the weirdest name of a pub you’ve been to? Have you seen a grizzly bear in the wild?