Suffer-fest, Yukon-style

Recap of the 17th Annual Yukon River Quest

Yukon

Leave it to the Great White North to serve up a paddling race loaded with humble pie.

That's the take-home from this year's 17th annual Yukon River Quest held June 24-28 and taking paddlers from Whitehorse to Dawson City on one of the most iconic rivers in North America. This year the 444-mile race saw 57 teams enter and only 44 finish – all in all, a pretty good showing for one of the toughest paddling races on the planet. And whether they crossed the finish line or not, all left with a greater sense of place thanks to their encounter with the Far North.

“We’ve found that the River Quest stirs several emotions from paddlers of all abilities, making it a hallmark event in their lives," says Jeff Brady, a four-time finisher and former president of the event and current media director. "Even the most seasoned marathon paddlers come away changed by the beauty of the Yukon River in extended twilight at 2 a.m., a moose or bear swimming across the river, or finishing a 444-mile race in under 52 hours and before last call in Dawson City.”

In all, 12 countries were represented in this year's event, and although low water meant no records were broken, there was still plenty of action and paddlers battled head to head for top honors. In the end, tandem kayakers David Hutchison (Montana) and Bob Ross (Ontario) placed first with a time of 44:51:07, despite the fact that Hutchison was on crutches when not in the boat.

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"Overall the weather and conditions were excellent," says Brady, adding that racers experienced some scattered thundershowers and head winds, but that's about it. "The lack of anything major this year made this race stand out, due to a calm lake and low river level – there wasn't a lot of snow up here last winter.

"And for the first time ever," he adds, "no one dumped in Five Finger Rapids. We just had to make one assist of paddlers in the Thirtymile section.

The 18th annual Yukon River Quest will be held on June 29-July 3, 2016.

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Results

Solo Classes

[Recipients of hand-made canoe necklace from Gold Trail Jewellery as well as prize money]

Open C1:

1. Team # 33 Gold Oariented – Brian Allemang, Ontario, [62:13:36]

Women K1:

1. Team # 55 Erinfroglady – Erin Giesbrecht, Yukon, [64:15:23]

Men K1:

1. Team # 5 The Northshore Paddler – Martin Rother, British Columbia [49:29:30]
2. Team # 21 Paddling Forward – Shawn Corrigan, Manitoba [50:01:09]
3. Team # 6 Veni Vidi Vici – Thomas de Jager, Yukon [51:21:26]
3. Team # 14 Akita – Wayne Anderson, Alberta [51:21:26]

Overall Solo:

1. Team # 5 The Northshore Paddler – Martin Rother, British Columbia [49:29:30]
2. Team # 21 Paddling Forward – Shawn Corrigan, Manitoba [50:01:09]
3. Team # 6 Veni Vidi Vici – Thomas de Jager, Yukon [51:21:26]
3. Team # 14 Akita – Wayne Anderson, Alberta, [51:21:26]

Tandem Classes

Women C2:
1. Team # 32 Too Tall for Y'All – Rumi Kodama and Rhiannon Bronstein, BC/WA [63:19:42]

Men C2:
1. Team # 29 Perfect Storm – Gaeton Plourde/Jeff Brainard, Ontario [45:33:46]
2. Team # 23 Lazing Paddles XI – John Little/Ron Sorokin, Alberta [63:46:13]
3. Team # 4 Strokes of Genius – Mike De Abreu/Tom Phillips, Ontario [65:55:44]

Mixed C2:
1. Team # 46 Flannel Fantasy – Jake Paleczny/Karen Mann, Yukon [50:05:32]
2. Team # 45 Pure Insanity – Kendall McDonald/Nicole McDonald, NWT [51:10:55]
3. Team # 43 Dawson Before Dawn – Robert Spinks/Alex Jessup, Yukon [54:13:42]

Overall Tandem Canoe:
1. Team # 29 Perfect Storm – Garton Plourde/Jeff Brainard, Ontario [45:33:46]
2. Team # 46 Flannel Fantasy – Jake Paleczny/Kaern Mann, Yukon [50:05:32]
3. Team # 45 Pure Insanity – Kendall and Nicole McDonald, NWT [51:10:55]

Women K2:
1. Team # 19 Team NIGOR Parula– Mieke Acda/Annika den Ouden, Netherlands [68:27:27]
1. Team # 15 Team NIGOR Guam – Kim Menage/Marieke Kietselaer, France/Netherlands [68:27:27]
3. Team # 44 Alpine Start – Laura MacLean/Lisa Brougham, British Columbia [72:31:13]

Men K2:
1. Team # 25 Time to GO! – David Hutchison/Bob Ross, Montana/Ontario [44:51:07]
2. Team # 3 Bald and Sexy – Gus Oliveira/Chris Spoor, British Columbia [46:40:51]
3. Team # 42 MaD Kiwis – Murray Fowke/Dave Wade, New Zealand [60:41:36]

Mixed K2:
1. Team # 13 Spirit of America – Josh Friedman/Julie Kirk, Idaho [57:35:44]

Overall Tandem Kayak:

1. Team # 25 Time to GO! – David Hutchison/Bob Ross, Montana/Ontario [44:51:07]
2. Team # 3 Bald and Sexy – Gus Oliveira/Chris Spoor, British Columbia [46:40:51]
3. Team # 13 Spirit of America – Josh Friedman/Julie Kirk, Idaho [57:35:44]

Voyageur Canoes

Women Voyageur:

1. Team # 40 Team 3-2-1-Go – Canada and USA [49:29:17]
2. Team # 41 8 of Hearts – British Columbia and Yukon [52:47:35]
3. Team # 48 Paddlers Abreast – Yukon and British Columbia [52:54:49]

Open Voyageur:

1. Team # 55 Yukon Do It – Ontario and British Columbia [67:36:14]

Mixed Voyageur:

1. Team # 26 Team Ts'alvit – Yukon [50:34:18]
2. Team # 37 Gale Force – British Columbia [51:58:13]
3. Team # 50 Alfred E Paddlers – Alaska [52:43:08]

Overall Voyageur
1. Team # 40 Team 3-2-1-Go – Tina Hoeben, Canada/USA [49:29:17]
2. Team # 26 Team Ts'alvit – Pam Boyde, Yukon [50:34:18]
3. Team # 37 Gale Force – Don Sundquist, British Columbia [51:58:13]

Special Awards [Cash]

Top All Yukon Canoe: Team # 46 Flannel Fantasy – Jake Paleczny/Karen Mann, Yukon [50:05:32]

Top All Yukon Kayak: Team # 6 Veni Vidi Vici – Thomas de Jager, Yukon [51:21:26]

Top First Nation Team: Team # 59 CAP – Raelina Jobin, Yukon [67:18:31]

Special Awards [Sponsors]

Top Yukoner: Team # 46 Flannel Fantasy – Jake Paleczny/Karen Mann, Whitehorse [Yukon Brewing]

Top Women: Team # Team 3-2-1-Go – Tina Hoeben [Yukon Brewing]

Fastest Seniors 55+: Team #40 8 of Hearts – Katie Stein Sather and Ruthann Ross [Skaguay News Depot & Books]

Spirit of the Yukon: Team # 51 Cockleshell Endeavour – Mick Dawson and UK [Klondike Visitors Association]

Red Stove: Team # 7 Hungarian Ember – Dr. Istvan Munch/Dr. Kristof Szam, Hungary [70:38:55] [Haywire Industries and Harry Kern Photography]
Given to winner of back of the back, the next to last team to cross the finish line. They finished 02:06:42 seconds ahead of Team #44 Alpine Start – Laura MacLean/Lisa Brougham at 20:38:55 Saturday.

Top Overall Team: Team #25 Time to GO![free entry for captain and same team members in 2016 YRQ and name on permanent trophy] first to finish at 18:51:07 p.m. on Friday.