Stage Six Sunrise

Bove Island and Tagish Lake glow in the early morning last week. Racers along this stage usually have the best views. JB

Silver anniversary for Klondike Relay
A look back at the first race in 1983

Feel like starting at midnight?
That’s what time all 18 teams left in the inaugural Klondike Trail of ‘98 Road Relay on Sept. 17, 1983. And they started at the ferry terminal. It was so dark, the News cameras missed the shot, but there were plenty of good ones from up the road and at the finish line.
All 18 teams finished, with the Racquet-Taku Striders of Juneau, captained by Glenn Frick (who has been in every relay since), taking first overall in 11:34:27. The women’s race was won by Westours Midnight Transfer, captained by Shelly James-Hopper, in 14:26:45, and the mixed division was claimed by the Icefield Idiots, also of Juneau, co-captained by Dick Ellsworth and Betsy Flood, in 14:20:52.
Skagway had an entry, fittingly called Team Skagway, which finished third in the mixed division in 14:33:38. Captained by Ed Santos, it included Rick Ackerman, Gary Trozzo, Diane Upper, Bruce Weber, Julie Wild-Curry, Mark Phillips, Chuck Boyle, Mary Ann Danielson, and Frank Norris.
Only Ackerman, Trozzo and Weber are still in town, and still running, though not competitively.
Nike, then an up-and-coming shoe company, was into sponsoring races back then instead of high-profile basketball stars. It signed on for the first couple of road relays, along with CP Air, Westours, and the Yukon Visitors Association.
When a Nike representative from Vancouver first came to Skagway to pitch the event, locals tried to talk him into a Dyea to Dawson type race. But the shoes prevailed and the 10-stage running relay has been on the Klondike Highway for its duration. Dyea to Dawson came later for the gold rush centennials and evolved into the Yukon River Quest.
It should be noted that the Nike-sponsored Lions Gate team from B.C. came in second that year, and then came back to avenge its loss with a win in 1984. Since then, northern teams from Juneau, Anchorage and Whitehorse have dominated.

A Juneau team crosses the finish line in 1983. Jeff Brady

The race grew and grew with the running craze of the 1980s and 1990s and has never stopped being popular.
Tonight, starting at 6 p.m. Skagway time, 134 teams are scheduled to begin their races to Whitehorse in the 25th annual relay. The starting line was moved to Second and Broadway years ago, and the race now has staggered starts, so the fast teams leave later. That way everyone gets to Whitehorse by early afternoon on Saturday so they can rest up before the dance. In addition to the original open, mixed, and women’s, there are now three masters divisions, as well as junior, corporate, two-person ultra, and four-person walking teams. All total, 1,153 runners and walkers are registered.
Four teams from Skagway are in the hunt, including two regulars in the mixed division, the WP&YR Highballers X captained by Jeremy Simmons and Team S.N.A.F.U. captained by Beth “Shakey” Smith. Their starting times were not available at deadline for this issue, but they usually go early.
Dottie Demark has also organized two local walking entries this year, the Skagway Windwalkers and Walk Won’t Run. They will start from Carcross at 3 a.m. Yukon time.
Other teams are entered from Anchorage, Atlin, Dawson City, Douglas, Eagle River, Haines, Hoonah, Juneau, Kamloops, BC., Ketchikan, Petersburg, Rocky Ridge, Maryland, Sitka, and Whitehorse. Some of the new and more interesting team names this year are To P or Not to P, Moving at the Speed of Government, and Seven Dudes and Six Boobs.
To follow the race, go to and click on the relay logo to connect to the race data base links. Local team and individual results will be listed in the Sept. 21 issue.

X-C races in Dyea this afternoon

The Skagway High cross-country running team will host its biennial invitational today with races starting at 1 p.m. in Dyea.
The girls team has raced well in its first two outings, finishing in second place to Haines among small schools at meets in Juneau and Wrangell.
With a couple more runners last weekend, the Panther girls gained on Haines in the points standings and appear on track for a trip to State this year.
Many of the boys are running just to get in shape for wrestling and basketball, but a couple runners have cracked the top 10.
Three races will be held in Dyea on Friday. The girls race starts at 1 p.m., followed by the boys at 1:45 p.m., and an open adult race for coaches and all-comers at 2:30 p.m. Transportation of teams to Dyea is being provided with the help of Alaska Excursions.
Most teams are arriving on the first Fairweather in the morning, and departing on the second Fairweather in the evening. The state’s fast ferry is making two trips today to accommodate the large number of Klondike Road Relay teams from Juneau.

Sept. 1 (complete results unavailable)

The Juneau-Douglas girls won the race with 26 points, followed by Haines with 65 and Skagway with 85. For the boys, JDHS had 33 points, Ketchikan took second with 82 and Haines finished third with 89.

Top Skagway times from Wrangell:

Mickey Wilson 17:19 (4th overall, 2nd 1-2-3 A)
Quinn Weber 17:59 (9th 1-2-3 A)

GIRLS:Amanda Jensen 21:06
Emily Herbig 21:06
Kaitlyn Surdyk 21:17
Paige Hahn 21:45
Kaylie O'Daniel 22:33
Cierra Hahn 23:24

Aug. 25 - Savikko Park, Douglas

Juneau-Douglas 32; Haines 51; Ketchikan 77; Wrangell 104; Sitka 106; Craig 140; Skagway 219; Metlakatla 223; Petersburg 223.
Skagway Individual results:
(* did not factor in scoring)
Quinn Weber, 18:46.97 (top 10)
Nate Herbig, 22:26.27
Josh Cotton, 22:40.68
Brent Beckner, 22:49.93
Lachlan Dennis, 23:01.58
Logan Weber, *23:02.76
Tom Littlefield-Kirko, *23:37.28
Jake Henricksen,*25:09.81

Juneau-Douglas 19; Haines 51; Skagway 79; Ketchikan 83.
Skagway Individual Results
(* did not factor in scoring)
Amanda Jensen, 21:11.76 (top 10)
Kaitlin Surdyk, 21:52.59
Kaylie O’Daniel, 22:25.11
Cierra Hahn, 23:54.63
Sierra Moran, 27:29.49
Kayla Henricksen, *30:17.90