‘Heard on the Run’

during the 20th annual Klondike Road Relay

John Briner gets a laugh as Mark Mench has his pizza delivered by Highballer captain Jeremy Simmons. - JB

The Klondike Trail of ‘98 International Road Relay was won by the Take No Prisoners team from Anchorage with a time of 10 hours, 43 minutes and 21 seconds.
Olympic skier Adam Verrier, a veteran of the Buckwheat Ski Classic and Dyea to Dawson races, was the first to cross the finish line for the team, which won its second straight Klondike.
There were 125 teams in this year’s race.
For the 20th anniversary of the event, we decided to focus our coverage on the three Skagway teams who were further back in the pack, and the things they said along the route.
Often, what is “heard on the run,” is just as much fun as what is “heard on the wind” downtown in the summertime.

In lieu of a growl, howls will do
“Ladies and gentlemen we have just had a black bear sighted at 7K ... (followed by his famous howl)” - starter Buckwheat Donahue announced, five minutes after the first group left.

Rosalie Westfall shares a moment with her dad, engineer John, after blowing the train whistle to start the race. - DL

Starting line pep talk
“Slow and steady – it’ll all be over real soon” - says Team SNAFU team member Cindy O’Daniel to captain Beth Winslow before the start of the first leg.

Whiteout fever
“My leg was like vertigo, man. I’ve never run in the dark, in a whiteout, with the lights coming at you.” - Fairway Market Couch Cowboy Paul “Mike” Korsmo, the morning after his first relay run on leg 4 from Fraser to Tutshi.

Beth Winslow is all smiles at the start of the 20th annual relay - DL

If only he wasn’t hung over
“I only passed about 20 runners. I had too much to drink the night before.” - David Knapp of Team SNAFU, who was described by a teammate as “the one runner” with a team of “nine knuckleheads.”

Beer is the cure
“This is the trash (yourself) event,” says Couch Cowboy Chaz Dense, a veteran of many regional events, sipping a beer at 8:30 a.m. after a sleepless night and a long stage 6 run.

Chaz Dense, driver Erik Niebuhr, Mike Korsmo, and young Devin Fairbanks support the Fairway team with a toast at 8:30 a.m. FYI only runners Dense and Korsmo were drinking beer. - JB

Practice those leg lifts
“I can honestly say that I had a great run for 14 miles, but during the last two miles my legs were like big weights that I could hardly lift.” – WP&YR Highballer John Briner after his leg 6.

Newton’s Law helps
“In the last four miles of my leg, I leaned forward and used gravity to get me down the hill, my legs hurt so bad.” - John L. O’Daniel, after completing leg 6 for Team SNAFU.

Running for pizza, only to wait some more
Last year Mark Mench of the Highballers got a whiff of pizza emanating from the team support vehicle, and never got any. This year, teammate John Briner surprised him with his very own pizza prior to Mench’s leg 8. Mench posed with a slice, but couldn’t bring himself to eat the pie until his leg was done.
He must have been motivated, he passed about 30 runners.
But the wait for pizza took a little longer than expected at the end. “Rose (Perotto) was in the toilet when I got to the end. She must have been nervous.”

Cross-training for real
“I am not a runner.” - Kyle Ellis, coming down the hill in Haines to bring up the rear for the Skagway Panthers Friday afternoon.
“I am not a runner. I was conned into doing this.” - Kyle Ellis, after he completed a relay leg for Team SNAFU Saturday morning when a team member could not fly into Skagway.
Ellis said the relay leg was easier.

Dawn Brown crests a hill on leg 8 for the SNAFU team. - JB

Training regimen, SNAFU style
“My training consisted of quitting smoking for three days and playing the ‘Fear Factor’ game at the Bonanza.” - Nate Tronrud of Team SNAFU, whose feet were scuffling at the end of leg 8.

Devin Fairbanks gives Fairway's Jim Chioffe a water bottle on leg 8. -JB

No disaster training needed
“I can’t believe I’m doing this without training. I predict Alderson will pass me in Miles Canyon.” - Rod “Flash” Fairbanks of Team SNAFU prior to the start of the 10th leg.
Fairbanks had his cassette Walkman wired with a selection of classic rock from Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” to AC/DC’s “Flirting with Disaster.”
Considering his lack of training, that tune was “more appropriate,” he admitted.

Looking good on leg 9
“Jeb is our beefcake, he runs like a white George Foreman.” - Fairway captain Tim Fairbanks, remarking on his teammate seen pumping his arms coming down the hill at the end of leg 9.

Distraction, distractions
“Nate, don’t you think Rod might need some water about now.” - John L. O’Daniel, 10 minutes after Fairbanks took off, breaking up a gathering of all three Skagway teams comparing notes at the start of leg 10. When they caught up to Rod, he was walking.

This ain’t no Tour of Anchorage
“Okay, I’m ready to hammer, but I can’t catch Rod.” - Tim “Businessman” Alderson of the Highballers, who flew down for the relay after taking first in the sports division of the Tour of Anchorage bike race last month, where he beat Verrier.

Rod rules the last stage
“Way to go Rod, we’re the first Skagway team to finish,” O’Daniel said. “We got something!’
Despite having to walk up a couple hills, Rod Fairbanks is the first Skagway runner into Whitehorse, a minute ahead of the next runner, a guy dressed like a dog with a stuffed bone in his mouth.
“You beat the puppy!”

Skagway butcher Rod “Flash” Fairbanks motors across the finish line “like a bratwurst looking for a beer.” - JB

Dream of Photo finish complete
Next in was Alderson, who passed the Couch Cowboys’ Patrick McClain on the Schwatka Lake flats leading into town. They finished about five minutes apart.
“I started off strong but got lost in the scenery of Miles Canyon,” McClain said, but he had enough at the end to hold off a challenger from behind at the end.
“I heard footsteps and months of marathon watching prepared me for that moment. I couldn’t let him beat me to the tape.”
Alas, the Snews camera, low on batteries at this point, missed the photo.

The Highballers celebrate their top 25 finish before heading off to a trendy restaurant. - JB

On that WP&YR expense account
“Let’s go to Boston Pizza,” said one Highballer.
“Hey, Gary said he’d treat, let’s do Giorgio’s,” replied another.

This sure beats Afghanistan
“Are there any more of these events? I can’t get enough of this.” - Air Force Staff Sgt. Mike Moe of Team SNAFU, back in Skagway and soon to be retired from active duty after a five-month tour in Afghanistan.

– compiled by Jeff Brady

Skagway Results
Overal team places, times
25. WP&YR Highballers, 14:59:53 (WP); 74. Team SNAFU, 17:01:04 (TS); 96. Fairway Market Couch Cowboys, 17:59:43 (FM)

Individual Skagway times
Stage 1:
Curt Dodd (WP) 1:08:33; Beth Winslow (TS) 1:32:57; Tim Fairbanks (FM) 1:41:57.
Stage 2: Terry Miller, (FM) 52:53; Gary Trozzo (WP) 59:11; Mike Moe (TS) 1:03:56.
Stage 3: Kori Goertz (WP) 1:06:07; Cindy O’Daniel (TS) 1:17:37; Marsha Columbo (FM) 1:31:09.
Stage 4: Ben Seale (WP) 1:42:56; Kyle Ellis (TS) 1:56:32; Paul Korsmo (FM) 2:02:03.
Stage 5: David Knapp 1:35:15; Jeremy Simmons (WP) 1:56:36; Deborah Hansen (FM) 2:31:42.
Stage 6: Chaz Dense (FM) 2:16:48; John O’Daniel (TS) 2:19:35; John Briner (WP) 2:28:00.
Stage 7: Amber Thompson (WP) 1:19:08; Norah Kell (TS) 1:21:50; Julene Fairbanks (FM) 1:33:18.
Stage 8: Mark Mench (WP) 1:16:32; Jim Chioffe (FM) 1:50:02; Nathan Tronrud (TS) 1:59:42.
Stage 9: Rose Perotto (WP) 1:30:08; Jeb Greenstreet (FM) 1:44:38; Dawn Brown (TS) 1:58:43; also Bruce Noble (Just Out on a Pass - Whitehorse team) 1:51:44.
Stage 10: Tim Alderson (WP) 1:32:42; Rodney Fairbanks (TS) 1:54:57; Patrick McClain (FM) 1:55:13.

For complete race results, see the Klondike Road Relay website at www.sportyukon.com.