Relay off and running tonight
Skagway will host the start of the 29th annual Klondike Trail of ’98 International Road Relay tonight. Teams of runners will leave the starting line at Second and Broadway every half hour from 6 to 11 p.m. Alaska time.
But before runners get going, there are captain’s meetings and a spaghetti feed for loading up on information and carbs.
The captain’s meetings for the early arrivals are at 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. at AB Hall, and there’s a final one for those arriving by ferry at 4:45 p.m. at the NPS Visitor Center auditorium.
The SHS senior class will be cooking up and serving spaghetti from 1 to 7 p.m. at the Elks. It’s all you can eat for $10.
Then the runners start. Among the 147 teams signed up are five running teams and three walking teams from Skagway. In the first group at 6 p.m. will be Skagway Pizza Station Team SNAFU captained by Beth “Shakey” Smith, and Alaska Excursions captained by David Osmond. Then heading out at 6:30 p.m. is the Russian American Co. captained by Kathleen Schaeffer. An hour later at 7:30 p.m. sees the WP&YR Highballers captained by Allyson Nannini and the Skagway Brewing Co, captained by Mike Healy.
The overall winner likely will be in the final group of four teams leaving at 11 p.m. Missing this year are the defending champs from Anchorage, so the crown could land back in Juneau or Whitehorse.
Skagway will have three four-person teams among the 17 walking teams that leave from Carcross early Saturday morning. All are captained by local teacher Dottie Demark: Art Sole, Gotta Have Sole, and Soled Out. They depart at 4:30 a.m. Alaska time, but should reach the finish at Whitehorse’s Rotary Peace Park early Saturday afternoon with all of the teams.
Local residents and visitors should note the following road closures on Friday night: As before Broadway will be closed between First and Second Avenues at 3:30 p.m. That part of Broadway will be closed until after the last start at 11 p.m. Second Avenue at Spring and State Streets will be closed from 5:50 until 8:05 p.m. After that Second will reopen but please drive slowly because there will still be 100 or so runners departing between then and 11 p.m. For those heading up the road, watch out for runners and support vehicles on the highway all the way to Whitehorse.

The SHS cross country team: (from left) front, Kaitlyn Surdyk and Rori Leaverton; back, Hannah O’Daniel, Helen Bruenger, Amanda Lervik, Lisa Buschmann, Camilla Gentili, Jade Cook, and coach Kent Fielding. JB

Skagway cross country team hits trails of Yakutat in first meet

 The Skagway High cross country running team is off to its first meet of the season in Yakutat this weekend. The trip is a departure from the usual meet held in Haines or Skagway this weekend to coincide with the start of the Klondike Road Relay.
Coach Kent Fielding said Yakutat had been pushing for a while to have the northern meet, and really wanted it this year since they have a good team.
Skagway will just field a girl’s team this year, but it could be a good one. Returning are captain Kaitlyn Surdyk and Rori Leaverton off Skagway’s second place team at regionals last year. Both finished in the top 25 at state.
New to the team are freshmen Hannah O’Daniel and Jade Cook, and foreign exchange students Helen Bruenger, Amanda Lervik, Lisa Buschmann, and Camilla Gentili.
Many of the top runners in SE graduated last year, so the field is wide open,” Fielding said.  “I have high hopes for both Kaitlyn, who is coming off a great track season and should be one of the favorites in SE, and Rori who qualified as an individual for State in CC last year.” 
He said O’Daniel has some speed, and with some endurance building, could also have an outstanding season. Cook has been finishing every workout, “even when I tell not to,” Fielding said, and the four exchange students are quickly learning the sport and how to pace themselves.
After Yakutat, the team will travel the following weekend to Juneau. Regionals are in Sitka this year on the 25th, and the short season ends with State in Anchorage on Oct. 2.

O’Daniel, Leaverton and Surdyk lead the team on a practice run this week. JB


Chilkoot Challenge Cyclocross Sept. 18
The inaugural Chilkoot Challenge Cyclocross Race will be held on the Dyea Flats beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 18.
A cyclorcross is a bicycle race on established dirt roads or paths, according to event organizers Dustin Craney and Jamie Bissell, who obtained permission from the Municipality of Skagway to hold the event on the flats.
Bikers will ride laps around a 2-4 mile flagged course for about an hour. They plan to divide the participants into recreational and expert.
Registration for the cyclocross is just $5 per person beginning at 4 p.m. on the Dyea Flats. For more information, contact Craney at 983-2851 or

Box of Rocks on Sept. 19
The annual Box of Rocks run/hike from Skagway to Upper Dewey Lake will take place on Sunday, Sept. 19.
Participants usually start from the trailhead by 9 a.m. to ensure a ride back down by helicopter around noon (weather permitting).
The rides down cost just $30 and participants should sign up at TEMSCO to reserve their spots.
Participants note their start time and then are clocked in at the top by the Upper Lake cabin. The distance is about three miles – all uphill – to an elevation of 3,100 feet.
The event got its name because anyone would have to be “dumber than a box of rocks” to do this, but the chopper ride down at least saves your knees.