This is just a quick message to let you all know that all athletes are fine. We were starting to worry a bit about Martin Parnell. He was late and reports we got indicated he took a wrong turn. Glenn and Spencer headed out to look for him and sure enough, 20 minutes later he reached the finish. Martin did take a wrong turn on his way back. So did two more marathon runners. They were cruising and possibly so confident that they stopped looking for the markers for a while. All of them realised at some point, turned around and finished. Possibly they also just wanted to run an ultra rather than a marathon :-)
I will have more news later.
After winning the 100 miles in 2013 Stefano Gregoretti from Italy came back in 2014 to win the marathon. He finished at Takhini Hotsprings after 3 h 35 min. Considering the fact that the trail was softer than expected this is pretty incredible. People who saw him on the trail said he was "flying". Marek Peterka and Vit Syrovy from Czech Republic came second 25 minutes later. Paul (Turbo) Trebiloc was the first athlete to reach CP1. He is on MTB and came in after 3 h and 32 min. I will update the detailed results table later today.
The SPOTs have arrived in time for us to hand them out at Takhini Hot Springs. Once again, thanks to Matthew Lee from Trackleaders.com to make this happen.
If you want to follow participants who have a SPOT please click on the Trackleaders.com logo on the top right of our website.
Thanks to an incredible effort by Matthew from Trackleaders.com and the services of Air North Cargo all rental SPOT units will arrive in Whitehorse in about 1 hour. This means that we should be able to give out most of the SPOTs at the Hot Springs. The rest we will try to get to athletes on the trail asap. That way everybody can follow their progress. There are some SPOTs active now. These are the one that belong to the respective people. In case you are wondering whey the don't follow the red line which is the trail we normally use, that is because of the change we had to make on short notice in this section.
Today's logistics before the start worked perfectly. Thanks to perfect service at the Coast High Country Inn, great help from Takhini Transports and the best crew in the world we got to Takhini Hot Springs in time.
Arriving here was a bit of a surprise when it comes to temperatures. Whitehorse felt warm but at Takhini Hot Springs it was rather chilly. We made our traditional start photo and the athletes left at 10:30 AM. Reports still are that the trail is rock hard. So, they should be fast. Especially the mountain bikers.
Our Up North Wall tent is set up, ready and heated and we are now finalising checkpoint work. We will be here until certainly late this afternoon. If any locals want to join us welcoming the marathon finishers or seeing 100 and 300 milers, please feel free to do so. The Hot Springs are open and Café Balzam will be open from about 2 PM.
As already announced yesterday, we will have our race start at Takhini Hot Springs. Athletes were informed today at the pre-race dinner that there is only one change to yesterday's plans. And that is concerning the distance for the 100 and 300 milers on the "out and back". Instead of 12 km, they actually do need to run about 20 km out, back and then out again to make up for distance lost through due to our new start location.
Other than that the timing as such remains as planned. Loading of the sleds at 09:00 AM in front of the Coast High Country Inn. Transfer buses for the people are ready from 09:15 AM and scheduled to leave at 09:30 AM. Arrival at Hot Springs about 10:00 AM. There may be minor delays and it's hard to tell with all the loading and unloading if we will make our 10:30 AM start. It may a bit later but at 11:00 AM at the latest we want to get going.
The Hot Springs will be open from 10:00 AM until 10:00 PM! So, anybody who watches us start can enjoy this unique experience right afterwards.
We had a great dinner tonight at the Coast High Country Inn. Most important information had been past on during training course and trail briefing. So, there were not too many things that still needed taken care of. Food was excellent and everybody seemed in a great mood and anxious to finally get going tomorrow.
Now Nic, one of our volunteers, is waiting in the library until 11:00 PM for athletes to bring their drop bags. I am writing some more news updates and finalise some paper work. Then that's it. It's race time!
Due to the hard trails we do expect a fast race. It will be beautifully sunny and not too cold.
Trackleaders.com is having difficulty getting the SPOTs to us in time. I had mentioned it already previously. Timing was too tight anyway but deteriorating weather conditions meant that courier companies could not guarantee over night delivery to Whitehorse. Matthew from Trackleaders.com then bought a ticket with the intention of bringing the SPOTs himself (from North Carolina!). But of course regular flights were also facing bad weather. After a long nightmare he did end up in Seattle and will now fly on to Vancouver. However, he won't make tonights flight. There were too many delays. The earlist - if all goes well - I will have the SPOTs will be tomorrow at 3:00 PM. We will see.
All this does mean that the rental SPOTs can't be given out in time for the start. Due to "out and back" this is not a big problem as it would have looked "funny" anyway. All the going back and forth off our original route. However, we do of course want everybody to head north with the SPOTs on their sleds. Let's keep our fingers crossed.
The athletes using their own SPOT should be visible already tomorrow as soon as the link goes live.