Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Marissa Tiel

PUNCHING IN – Jennifer MacKeigan punches into a control on the expert sprint course during the Yukon Orienteering Championships Wednesday night in Riverdale. MacKeigan was fourth overall.

Orienteers challenge long sprint course rain or shine

When the storm moved in and the clouds broke sending waves of rain down into the valley,

By Marissa Tiel on June 15, 2017

When the storm moved in and the clouds broke sending waves of rain down into the valley, Dave Hildes was worried if people would show up to the meet.

The second-time orienteering course-setter needn’t have worried as a hardy crew of athletes ran the sprint course in Riverdale for the Yukon Orienteering Championships rain or shine.

With the drizzle still falling, Jennifer MacKeigan began warming up.

By the time she was out on the course, the sun was already drying up the ground.

Kendra Murray, who placed third overall in the expert division had started maybe 20 minutes earlier. As she was running along the Millennium Trail above the Yukon River, she had freed her map from its plastic cover and as she ran, it flapped in the wind.

Sprints usually take place in an urban setting and Hildes was challenged to make courses that engaged all skill levels.

“It was pretty fun doing an urban course,” he said. “I think I made them a little long, but I’m a new course-setter.”

He sent the novice racers across the Yukon River to keep them away from traffic and the advanced and expert racers into central Riverdale to make use of the many buildings and fences.

While MacKeigan was a little jealous of the novice course-goers’ route, she enjoyed a section between the fourth and fifth controls that had athletes navigating a fenced area.

“It was more technical,” she said. “You really had to read and see where the little fence crossings were, otherwise you could have got trapped, which would not have been fun.”

For expert sprint courses, racers can usually expect to travel between three and four kilometres.

Wednesday night’s course came in at 3.8K as the crow flies, but MacKeigan said she ran about 5K thanks to her route choices.

“It seems in the Yukon we usually have longer sprints because we don’t have amazing urban sprints,” she said. “It’s great training for when we go out. They’re shorter and we can push harder.”

MacKeigan and a handful of other Yukon orienteers, including the Blake family, will be travelling to Iceland next week for a massive meet called ICE-O. The terrain will be new and she said one course features a lava rock field.

“It’s going to be very different from what we’re used to,” said MacKeigan. “We’re excited.”

Yukon Orienteering Championships sprint results


  1. Madeleine & Alastair Smith 27:13
  2. Aydri Mosquera & Linda MacKeigan 32:47
  3. Stian & Brent Langbakk 34:27
  4. Megan Swanson & Joseph MacKeigan 38:21
  5. Heather & Wyatt Burnett 42:27


  1. Wendy Nixon 27:47
  2. Deb Kiemele 30:06
  3. Rowena Beckett 30:36
  4. Ev Pasichnyk 34:07
  5. Sidney Maddison 34:10


  1. Nate Wood 21:06
  2. Aisha & J.F. Roldan 26:06
  3. Martin Slama 26:37
  4. Grant Abbott 38:30
  5. Craig Brooks 45:04


  1. Leif Blake 21:15
  2. Emma Sherwood 26:38
  3. Kendra Murray 26:48
  4. Jennifer MacKeigan 27:52
  5. Ross Burnett 29:19

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