There were only 12 miles to go before reaching Rotary Park in Whitehorse – just 12 miles until the end of this year’s Klondike Trail of ’98 International Road Relay.
Kate Bauer had run 12 miles before. She’d completed the Skagway half marathon earlier this year and had run to Dyea and back multiple times in preparation. Leg ten’s 12 miles shouldn’t be too hard.
But Bauer had never run 12 miles after a night of no sleep.
“It was really rough because our whole team was [awake] in the van the night before,” Bauer said. “I’ve never run without sleeping.”
Bauer’s leg started where the South Klondike Highway and the Alaska Highway intersect and eventually took her over rolling hills into Miles Canyon and finally to Rotary Park.
She found herself hot and dehydrated, but the adrenaline and her team’s support kept her going.
Bauer ran for FindingHUP, a team founded by Abby Myers.
Myers put together the team to support her brother-in-law’s non-profit organization of the same name. FindingHUP encourages people with paralysis or disabilities to reengage and find purpose again.
The team successfully raised $1,350 for the group.
“I think we all had a really good time,” Myers said. “Some people totally blew their projected times out of the water.”
Bauer included. She finished her leg in an hour and 57 minutes – averaging each mile at nine minutes and 41 seconds, 20 seconds less than her projection.
Myers ran leg five this year, running through the night, and at times, under the northern lights.
“It’s fun out there because you don’t know where you’re running. You don’t see the hills – you just go. You don’t psych yourself out,” she said.
[quote_right]“It’s fun out there because you don’t know where you’re running. You don’t see the hills – you just go. You don’t psych yourself out,” she said. [/quote_right]
Myers ran the relay last year, and this year decided to pace herself more. Overall it worked.
“I paced myself, and I felt good the last five miles. I wasn’t dying,” she said.
Though running in the dark has its advantages, Myers said it can be a bit scary, too.
“Sometimes you will be running for 10 or 15 minutes, and no cars will have passed you,” she said. “There are times when it kind of hits you… If there was a bear or a moose just walking in the middle of the road… I was like, just keep running.”
FindingHUP finished the relay with a time of 18:26:06.
Six other teams represented Skagway along the Klondike Highway.
Skagway Brewing Company finished more than two hours earlier, taking first place out of the seven Skagway teams with a time of 15:55:10.
WP&YR Highballers followed close behind, finishing with a time of 15:59:57.
Alaska Excursions entered Rotary Park at 16:10:01, SNAFU at 17:13:38, Parkies, Pluckers and Blowers at 17:26:34 and Duff’s Backcountry Outfitters at 19:21:17.
Next year, the relay will see FindingHUP on the road once again. Myers said she has already had a few people approach her, asking to be a part of the team.
What do they plan on doing differently? Investing in an RV so runners like Bauer can get some shut-eye before pounding the pavement.