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Buckwheat's classic celebrates 25 years with milestones, memories

Posted: March 31, 2011 - 5:35pm

This year’s Buckwheat Classic cross country skiing race marked 25 years of Nordic skiing excellence and, as always, drew participants from all over the Southeast Region.

Participants competed in races of differing lengths including 50 kilometers, 25K, 10K and 5K on the cross-country ski trails at Log Cabin, BC on the S. Klondike Hwy last Saturday, March 26. Notable finishers from Juneau included Guy Thibodeau who raced to eleventh place in the 50K with a time of 3 hours, 10 minutes and 23 seconds. Odin Brudie came in five places behind Thibodeau, to finish sixteenth with a time of 3 hours, 43 minutes and 20 seconds. Also from Juneau, Skip Elliott finished in nineteenth place with a time of 4:10:42.

Overall, John Parry became the first son of a former champion to win the big 50K race. His dad, Bill, won the 50K in the race’s second year.

In the 25K race, Dam Fremgen, of Juneau, took fifth place. He finished 13 seconds behind Fabian Brook, the winner, with a time of 1:35:07. Greg Patz, of Juneau, finished nineteenth with a time of 1:46:02, followed by Will Metcalf, 2:14:01, Eric Olsen, 2:15:3, Ed Neal, 2:24:03, and Mark Kelley, 3:13:50, all of Juneau.

Sarah Schoen led the Juneau women in the 25K race with a time of 1:58:49. She finished eleventh, 27 seconds behind the winner Kendra Murray of Whitehorse, Yukon. Other Juneau finishers included Anne Johnson, 2:07:48, JJ Volenweider, 2:24:19, Sharon Fisher, 2:25:02, Gail Blundell, 2:49:49, Kari Anderson, 2:55:14, Amy Volz, 3:08:27, Rebecca Busch, 3:13:39, Jan Beauchamp, 3:13:49, Monica Witter, 3:42:07, and Stephanie Hoag, 3:47:43, respectively.

In the men’s 10K classic race, Johnny Elliott led the Juneau contingent with a fourteenth place finish with a time of 47 minutes and 10 seconds. He finished 11 seconds behind winner Julian Alexander-Cook of Ottowa, Ontario. Other Juneau finishers included Chris Frank, 1:00:16, Johnny Staub, 1:17:17, Chuck Guthrie, 1:31:2, and Ron Clarke, 1:49:01, respectively.

Lucy Steek-Masson claimed a strong win in the women’s 10K race with a time of 35 minutes and 3 seconds. She had not raced since winning the 50K in 1998. The first Juneau finisher was Megan Ahleman in twenty-seventh place with a time of 1:00:11. She was followed by Juneau racers Linda Mancuso, 1:17:02, Shelly Deering, 1:23:08, Kathy Kartchner of Auke Bay, 1:23:09, Christine Kennedy, 1:23:40, Teresa Tolbert, 1:24:15, Diana Paul, 1:33:27, Nancy Jones, 1:37:25, and Jennifer Watson, 1:37:38, respectively.

The Des Duncan Award for top volunteer went to Su Rappleye, who handles the registration and business end of the event. The Miss Buckwheat Award went to Keagan Niebuhr.

Honored for his commitment to and creation of the event, Buckwheat Donahue was recognized with a song, several testimonies and standing ovations throughout the awards ceremony for his 25 years of organizing the race. He also gave out several anniversary quilts — made from old BSC t-shirts by Jean Worley — to long-time volunteers and Miss Buckwheats.

Although Donahue is stepping aside, the Buckwheat will carry on. There is enough energy and willing volunteers in Skagway and the Yukon who have committed to keep it going. Future races will likely be run by a committee, as was done during the year Donahue was away on his walk across the continent.

Click the link with this story to see a full list of participants.

• Contact Outdoors editor Abby Lowell @ abby.lowell@juneauempire.com.

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