Rain poured down on groups of runners, as the train whistle blew marking the start of the 33rd Annual Klondike Trail of ’98 International Road Relay in Skagway on Friday, September 9.

The first group left the starting line on Broadway at Second and Broadway at 6 p.m.  The countdown clock ticked down, and 15 minutes later another group of runners took off from the start.

According to Race Coordinator Sandra Soares, a record number of 1,870 runners and walkers participated. Sixty-nine men and 99 women started on leg one from Skagway.

The trail follows that of the gold rush stampeders over White Pass, through British Columbia, and into the Yukon, finishing Saturday along the banks of the Yukon River in Whitehorse. The 110-mile relay over the Klondike Highway is broken into 10 legs, varying in distance from 5.5 to about 16 miles.

“Both volunteers and participants took on the wet cold temperatures with a smile on their faces,” Soares said adding that the most frequent question she was asked during the event was “Alaska Time or Yukon time?”

This year, eight Skagway teams participated.

“The race was great,” Michael Healy said.  “Yeah, I was really surprised at my performance.  I severely sprained my ankle a few weeks ago, and haven’t been able to do much running since, and all I was expecting to do was finish the run.  I have to admit that it really hurt, though. The rest of the team did great. We had four runners in the top 10 of their gender divisions.  Everyone else also did well, and of course, we all helped out by cheering through the night.  The weather was chilly, but it always is.  Saturday turned out to be a really nice day in the Yukon, with the sun beating down.”

“It went awesome even with cold, windy, and extremely wet conditions up and over the pass and all the way to Carcross,” said Abby Myers, the team captain of Finding HUP. “Most of our people beat their predicted times which we were really excited about.  Overall it was one for the memory books. Our team finished strong and we are already planning for next year.”

Most teams were finished between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Yukon time on Saturday at Rotary Peace Park in Whitehorse. An awards ceremony following the event was held Saturday evening at the High Country Inn. Results for all of the teams are posted at
klondikeroadrelay.com.

Team finish times:

Finding HUP finished 22nd in the open category with a final time of 18:22:08 (88th overall).

SNAFU too came in 23rd in the mixed category with a final time of 17:32:57 (60th overall).

Sexy Wolf Pack came in 36th in the mixed category with a time of 18:24:32 (91st overall).

SNAFU came in 39th in the mixed category with a time of 18:40:50 (63rd overall).

Skagway Brewing Company came in 5th in the corporate category with a time of 15:51:44 (67th overall). Michael Healy, who has been participating in the road relay for eight years, finished second best for men in leg 7 with a time of 01:02:33.

Alaska Excursions came in 10th in the corporate category with a time of 17:34:00 (61st overall).

WP&YR Highballers came in 11th in the corporate category with a time of 17:35:45.

Duff’s Backcountry Outfitters came in 16th in the corporate category with a time of 18:35:42 (99th overall).

Flat Foot Floozies came in sixth in the walkers 7a – 10b category with a time of 11:16:22. Anna Nelson had a time of 01:16:18 in leg 7a. Dottie DeMark had a time of 01:19:41 in leg 9b. And Cara Cosgrove had a time of 01:20:03 in leg 10a. All three Skagway walkers were in the top three for their legs