Nine local teams among 175 set to start KRR

By KATIE EMMETS

Nine Skagway teams will take off tonight for the 29th annual Klondike Road Relay.
Duff’s Backcountry Outfitters and Wicked Westmark Asphalt Warriors are in the corporate division, WP&YR Highballers, Alaska Excursions, Horse-Cow: Milk It and Ride It!, Skagway Brewing Company and The Station’s Team Snafu are in the mixed division and Art & Sole and Gotta Have Sole are in the walking division.
The nearly 109-mile race will begin at 6 p.m. in Skagway for the running teams. Teams start at Second and Broadway, departing on the half hour until 11 p.m. local time.
Beth Smith, captain of Team Snafu, said she can’t wait for the relay.
“It’s my favorite weekend of the year,” she said, adding that this will be The Pizza Station’s 12th time participating.
This year, however, is special for Team Snafu.
After this year’s relay, team member John O’Daniel will have completed all ten legs.
Smith said she is running leg 6 this year, which is the longest leg at 16 miles, but next year, she will run the “easiest” leg — leg 3 from the US-Canada border to Fraser— which is nicknamed “the princess leg.”
“Everyone saves leg three for last,” she said of teammates who attempt running all ten legs. “There are no easy legs, but it is the easiest out of all of them.”
Although she has run almost all of the legs, Smith said leg 5 will always be her favorite.
“I fell in love with my husband on leg 5,” she said.
For two consecutive years, she ran leg 5 while her now-husband Mark Smith ran leg 6.
The two were very good friends, she said, and the first year, Mark had a girlfriend. But the second year, the relay brought the pair closer.
“After that, he said ‘I’m never running that again!’” she said with a laugh, adding that he has been an alternate runner and a support vehicle driver ever since.
The walking teams of the Klondike Road Relay will start in Carcross at 4 a.m. local time (3 a.m. Alaska time).
Dottie DeMark, captain of both Skagway walking teams, said team members have been preparing for the relay by studying the book “Walking Off Weight,” which gives faster walking techniques.
Although they haven’t walked the length of a leg, DeMark said the teams have walked from Dyea to Skagway a few times for practice.
For the past five years, Skagway has had women’s walking teams, and although they always plan to walk the legs together, DeMark said it’s difficult with each teammate having a different pace.
“It usually takes us 10 to 11 hours for the teams to finish,” she said, adding that she thinks walking the road relay is more difficult than running it. “You just want to run. It’s hard to walk as fast as you can without running.”
Because of the staggered starts, all teams usually complete the relay between noon and 3 p.m. at Whitehorse’s Rotary Peace Park.
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ROAD CLOSURES – As before, Broadway between 1st and 2nd Avenues will close at 3:45 p.m. and remain closed until 11 p.m. Broadway between 2nd Avenue to 5th Avenue will be closed at 10-minute intervals every half hour starting at 5:50 p.m. before each starting gun until 8:05 p.m. After that please drive slowly because there will still be 100 or so runners departing between then and 11 p.m. It’s been suggested that businesses leave their lights on Broadway for better picture taking and as a small show of support for the event. Runners after dark really appreciate the extra lights for their run.
The Skagway Police Department will be working hard to ensure the safety of all participants and townspeople so please follow the direction they offer. There will be about 1,500 runners and walkers on the highway, along with their support vehicles, so be cautious.
“Thanks for being understanding and for putting up with any inconvenience this event may cause, said Skagway Tourism Director Buckwheat Donahue, the local starter. “Feel free to cheer, howl or applaud when you see runners going by. It’s a good thing.”

REC. ROUNDUP

Box of Rocks set for Sept. 18
The annual fun run/hike to Upper Dewey Lake, better known as the Box of Rocks, will be held on Sunday, Sept. 18.
The self-timed event begins at the trailhead downtown and ends at the old cabin at Upper Dewey Lake. Participants should time their ascents so they may arrive by noon.
TEMSCO Helicopters is offering rides down for $35. The rides must be paid in advance. Space is limited, so make a reservation soon by calling 983-2900.
The event’s name was dreamed up by local hikers who figured you’d have to be dumber than a box of rocks to race up to Upper Lake.

Chilkoot Cyclocross to be held Sept. 24
The second annual Chilkoot Cyclocross will be held on the Dyea Flats on Saturday, Sept. 24. The start/finish line is in the parking area by the kiosk just past the Nelson Slough Bridge.
The bike race is set to start at about 3 p.m. It consists of several laps over the course around the flats roads, including some obstacles like driftwood that riders can either jump over or get off their bikes and go around.
There is no entry fee. Last year about 30 riders from Skagway and the Yukon participated. For more information, contact Dustin Craney at dcraney@gmail.com.