Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

TOP SPEED – Ultra runner Denise McHale of Carcross posted the quickest time for a solo woman in the 50-mile Reckless Raven, finishing in 10 hours, 25 minutes and 33 seconds.

Over 140 runners test their mettle in the Reckless Raven

It was just the second annual race, but already interest in the Reckless Raven 50 Mile Ultra and Relay has doubled.

By Chuck Tobin on July 6, 2018

It was just the second annual race, but already interest in the Reckless Raven 50 Mile Ultra and Relay has doubled.

Runner and organizer Virginia Sarrazin said this week the Canada Day ultra attracted almost 60 solo competitors and 44 teams of 2, for a total of more than 140 runners altogether.

Ian Weir of Whitehorse defended his men’s solo championship title with a time of eight hours, 49 minutes and 39 seconds, or just over eight minutes faster than his winning time last year.

Ultra runner Denise McHale of Carcross won the women’s solo race in a time of 10:25:33., knocking off two minutes from her second-place time last year.

Sarrazin said her idea of starting an ultra race here came from the recognition of such a strong running community in the Yukon. What was missing, she felt, was an ultra.

It’s an opportunity for runners to test themselves at home now rather than having to travel south, Sarrazin said.

“It’s a really beautiful course,” she said of the 360-degree views competitors experience as they make their way along the mountain ridges. “But it is a tough one.”

For 50 miles, they climb and descend, climb and descend.

Not long after starting at the Mount McIntyre Recreational Centre, they’re running along Raven’s Ridge paralleling the Fish Lake Road. And then it’s the first big uphill challenge, a climb of about 700 metres to the wind turbines on Haeckel hill, and then over to Mount Sumanik, the highest point on the race, and just shy of 1,000 metres higher than the elevation at the start – that’s a kilometre of climbing and the race isn’t even half over.

“After Sumanik, you go down, and then you go up, and then you go down...,” Sarrazin said. “It’s really tough. There are a lot of changes.

“This year was our second year, and we doubled the field of runners so the word is spreading.”

She said they are expecting the Reckless Raven to grow.

Coming in second in the solo men was Carcross runner David Brabec in a time of nine hours, one minute and 14 seconds, or just shy of 12 minutes back of Weir’s winning pace. Ian Cleland of Grand Prairie, Alta., was third with a time of 9:33:16.

Jane Hollenberg of Smithers, B.C., was second in the women’s solo with a time of 10:57:49, or just over 32 minutes back of McHale. Amy Kenny was third in 11:40:37.

In the men’s team event, local runners Colin Abbott and Matthias Purdon were first in a time of 7:41:54, or just under 10 minutes ahead of the second place team of Greg McHale from Carcross and David Eikelboom of Whitehorse. In third with a time of 8:47:46 were Harry Borlase and Simon Lapointe.

First in the women’s team event were Allison Thompson and Vannessa Cunningham of Inuvik, in a time of 10:57:34. Whitehorse runners Sophie Tremblay and Johanna Smith were second in a time of 11:33:45. Local runners Laura Wells and Sarrazin were third in 11:34:47.

First in the mixed was the brother-and-sister team of Nansen and Kendra Murray of Whitehorse, with a time of 9:35:38 while local runners Laley Digel and James Cleary were second in 10:03:33. Right behind in third was the Whitehorse team of Brendan Morphet and Piia Kortsalo, in a time of 10:07:14.

Sarrazin noted Allison Thompson of the winning women’s team was last year’s winner of the solo women’s class, in a furious time of 9:38:59.

“Allison is from Inuvik, and she is an incredible runner,” she said. “I think in general the runners up here are in great shape, because they’re used to running on these trails.”

Sarrazin estimated 40 or so volunteers were needed to pull of the second annual Reckless Raven.

Of the 55 solo runners who started, 45 completed the course. Of the 44 teams that started, 39 finished.

Comments (2)

Up 4 Down 0

Hayley Henderson on Jul 7, 2018 at 9:59 pm

Thanks for covering the race. Please note however that Hayley Henderson-Thur and Julia Gurlach placed second in the women’s relay with the time you have correctly reported. Thanks in advance for your attention to this discrepancy.

Up 3 Down 0

Walter Waugh on Jul 6, 2018 at 8:33 pm

Hearty congratulations to each and every participant. What amazing accomplishments by all frankly and the winners truly remarkable. Enjoy a few cold ones to celebrate!

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