Yukon Arctic Ultra

Well, it’s confirmed. I’ve booked my flight and I’m going to run the Yukon Arctic Ultra 100 miler in February in Whitehorse, Yukon.

The north has always called me. I was fortunate enough to participate in the Rock and Ice Ultra in Yellowknife a couple of times and just loved everything about it. The landscape was beautiful, temperatures cold and terrain rugged. I’ve certainly missed that over the past few years and felt that it’s time to head back to the north.

We spoke with Greg and Denise McHale quite a bit about YAU while we were at the GORE-TEX TransRockies Run this past sumer. I hung on every word they said, as I knew that someday I would be there running the race for sure. Speaking with Ray Zahab a couple of months ago did nothing to calm my enthusiasm for the race either. I guess that I didn’t really expect to be running it so soon. Funny how things happen.

To be honest, there are a number of things that scare me a bit about the race…
– The temperatures could potentially be much colder (-40 or colder) than anything I’ve experienced.
– The remoteness of the race with 26 miles between checkpoints.
– Being out there for such an extended period of time leaves me feeling somewhat vulnerable.
– Then there are the dreaded overflows that I keep hearing about. Brrr.

All of this has me excited though and very fired up to train hard specifically for it.

I have to admit I’m a bit of a gear geek and look forward to piecing things together in this aspect. The unfortunate part is that I may have to purchase additional gear for the conditions and for what is mandatory gear. I’m hoping to receive some support/assistance in this regard, but if anyone has any contacts with companies that may be able to assist in this area, I’d appreciate it if you could send them my way.

Although it will be great having David (running the YAU Marathon) and Kim there, it will be tough not having Sara up there as well. I’m still working on her though and hoping we can make it work.

So training has officially started for the race with my first Tire run of the season last night. I was pleased how comfortable I felt running while dragging Bubba the Tire. Over the next few months, I’ll be increasing my volume substantially, adding regular tire dragging runs, snowshoe runs, long tempo runs and of course completing some very long runs and back to back long runs. Now all we need is some snow so I can add some pulk runs to the mix too. Can’t wait!


  1. SO excited for you!!!

    That logo is fierce – you’ll have to draw inspiration from the tenacious wolf.

    I thought Bubba was in fine form last night. He is really loud though – he needs snow.

    (Hmm…a marathon on snow would be kind of awesome.)

  2. Jealous…so jealous!!! Awesome race choice Derrick. Wishing you all the best and wishing I was also doing the race :)

  3. slowrunner says:

    wicked! don’t forget to wear the weighted vest when you’re dragging bubba!!

  4. Sara – Just book it and get it over with. you know you won’t be able to stay away at the end, so you might as well commit now and enjoy the build up, rather than the dread.

    I was really tough for me not to signup for the 100, but I am not Ray and I am not ready to tackle the Arctic & 100miles, just yet, and I mean YET. The Marathon will be fun and a great adventure, along with enjoying all Whitehorse has to offer.

    I am excited for you Derrick, I know you have been wanting to commit to an epic adventure and now you have, you do so much better when you have true focus. Hopefully come late Dec and Jan I’ll be able to join you (and Sara) for a few long snowy training runs.

    p.s. Kegger is getting a little dusty.

  5. That is crazy! 100 miles AND freezing cold? Yikes.

  6. Sara – You’re practically there! You know you wanna.

    Sue – I’m surprised you haven’t done it yet.

    Kendra – Don’t forget about dragging my other CF buddies…oh no, wait, that’s you not me.

    David – Would be good to hook up for some runs in the buildup. Will be great to see you guys up there too.

    Digger – Everything we all do is kind of crazy. All fun.

  7. Just awesome Derrick, look forward to some long runs in the snow!

  8. Snow can’t arrive soon enough. Maybe there’s a sprinkling up Mt Marcy?

  9. hey derrick! it was my first foot race, and one of my most memorable! you will love it for sure- and you will rock it, you are an awesome athlete!

  10. Thanks Ray. Really looking forward to it.

  11. Holy smoke, that’s going to be amazing.

  12. Wanna come JD?

  13. That is going to be good… A couple of years ago I was running in the Yukon throughout the winter. Ranks right up there with my faves. Saw -30 but didn’t feel that bad. That wolf logo kind of scares the crap out of me though.

  14. Good to hear Chris. Hoping that it’s almost as warm there as at HURT 100.

  15. Pumped for you man! Sounds like a beast of a race and I’m sure you will be well prepared. I will be geeking out hearing about all the gear requirements!

  16. Don’t tempt me.

  17. William…oh yeah. The gear stuff is the best part. That’s where Sara and I really tend to disagree on things.

    JD…You’ve already done Susitna. Might as well hit the Yukon too.

  18. hay jd! i’ll go if you do . . .

  19. Excellent kids! Guess its all settled!!!

  20. Yukon Arctic Ultra Documentary



  21. Thanks Darek. Watched it last night and certainly spooked me a bit. That’s just a kind of cold that we don’t get in Ontario. Can’t wait though.

Speak Your Mind