WHITEHORSE, YUKON TERRITORY - As the 20th annual Klondike "Trail of '98" International Road Relay evolved Saturday morning, Team Darwin's Tribe eliminated two Appendages to become the top Juneau finishers and top mixed team.
Darwin's Tribe, captained by Don Eagle, finished second in the overall standings in a time of 11 hours, 54 minutes, 4 seconds, behind top team Sporthill-TNP of Anchorage, an all-men's squad that crossed the finish line in 10:37:21.
A total of 129 teams entered the 10-stage, 110-mile relay that began with 30-minute wave starts Friday night in Skagway - slower teams in the early waves - and traveled overnight up White Pass on Klondike Highway 2. The runners went through Carcross and joined the Alaska Highway before finishing in Whitehorse at midday Saturday.
Darwin's Tribe finished nearly eighteen minutes in front of Juneau rivals the Vestigial Appendages, who came in second in the mixed division and third overall in 12:11:57. Severed Appendage Revenge, featuring four Southeast runners, finished third in the mixed division and eighth overall in 12:49:59.
Other Juneau team highlights included the Lady GuDivas breaking the women's masters (age 40-over) course record they set last year by more than 25 minutes - finishing in 14:01:20 - and the Smokin' Ole Geezers retaining their masters division title for the 12th consecutive year, finishing fourth overall with a time of 12:21:50.
Team Survivor Perseverance, a Juneau team made up of cancer survivors and their supporters, finished 108th out the 129 teams in a time of 18:38:27.
Eagle said the mixed class win for Darwin's Tribe did not come easy, as the rival Vestigial Appendages - captained by Kim Rivera - jumped out to an early lead.
"The Appendages were smoking us halfway through the race," Eagle said. "They were half an hour ahead of us."
The Vestigial Appendages' grip on the lead began to loosen starting in Leg 3, and Darwin's Tribe jumped to a comfortable lead in Legs 7 and 8 as team members George Johnson and Frank Sprtel turned in the fastest times of the day on those sections.
Darwin's Tribe then battled through fatigue over the last few legs to preserve their finish.
"We stayed tough and tried to hold the pace as much as we could," Eagle said.
The Vestigial Appendages were excited to beat the Smokin' Ole Geezers by just under 10 minutes, captain Kim Rivera said. Last year, the Geezers beat the Appendages by three minutes in the overall standings.
Sporthill-TNP, which features several former Olympians, is largely the same group of runners that won the relay as Team Terra last year, and Take No Prisoners the year before.
"We're ecstatic with the way things are going," said Sporthill-TNP's Kevin Donley, shortly before teammate Adam Verrier began the final leg into Whitehorse. "Everyone has run really well, way beyond our expectations."
The team's time was about 16 minutes faster than Team Terra's finish last year, but more than 20 minutes slower than the course record of 10:16:28, set in 1990 by Juneau "B" Team.
The Lady GuDivas said they were thrilled to hold off rivals Les Femmes de Tundra of Fairbanks and break the course record they set last year.
"That was our number one goal," said team captain Dawn Walsh.
Of all the teams participating this year, perhaps the longest journey was made by the MIT Ashdown House Harriers of Philadelphia. Team captain Thomas Lee said the group of six runners and two support drivers met as grad students at MIT, and for the past five years they have traveled to relay events around Canada.
Lee said the team enjoyed the chance to visit this part of the world - and were impressed by the vivid Northern Lights display early last week.
In addition to Eagle, Johnson and Sprtel, Darwin's Tribe included Amy Nelson, Jamie Bursell, Emma Wolf, Mike "Dodge" Haney, Thomas Casey, Shawn Miller and John Bursell.
The Vestigial Appendages featured Tracy Rivera, JoAnn Quigg, Sue Doherty, Eric Speck, Kim Rivera, Gary Smith, Dave Pusich, Robert Sowers, Shasta Smith and Ken Maas.
The Smokin' Ole Geezers included Al Graves, Jim Douglas, Steve Davis, Brian Goettler, Glenn Frick, Thomas Meyer, Andy Grossman, Bob Marshall, Jerry Buckley and Guy Thibodeau.
Sporthill-TNP included Donley, Verrier, Frode Lillefjell, Marten Martenson, Jens Beck, Lars Flora, Jerry Ross, Chris Myers, Todd Boonstra and Warren Hancock.
The Lady GuDivas featured Walsh, Kathy Coghill, Gayle Nixon, Heather Lende, Sue McCarthy, Lisa Kirsch, Deborah Rudis, Shelly James, Debbie Groves and Martha Bellisle.
Andrew Krueger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
KLONDIKE 'TRAIL OF '98' INTERNATIONAL ROAD RELAY
Here are the top twelve overall and top three finishers in each division for the 2002 Klondike Trail of '98 International Road Relay, a 10-stage, 110-mile relay held Friday and Saturday between Skagway and Whitehorse:
Overall - 1. Sporthill-TNP, Anchorage, 10 hours, 37 minutes, 21 seconds; 2. Darwin's Tribe, Juneau, 11:54:04; 3. Vestigial Appendages, Juneau, 12:11:57; 4. Smokin' Ole Geezers, Juneau, 12:21:50; 5. Mic Mac Toyota, Whitehorse, 12:26:27; 6. The Classics, Anchorage, 12:46:03; 7. North 60 Jet "A," Whitehorse, 12:46:39; 8. Severed Appendage Revenge, Thorne Bay, 12:49:59; 9. The Smokin' Love Muffins!, Anchorage, 12:58:53; 10. Totally Fit Peak Performers I, Anchorage, 13:05:58; 11. MIT Ashdown House Harriers, Philadelphia, 13:26:18; 12. Sportees Time Travellers, Whitehorse, 13:47:53.
Open (Men) - 1. Sporthill-TNP, Anchorage, 10:37:21; 2. Mic Mac Toyota, Whitehorse, 12:26:27; 3. MIT Ashdown House Harriers, Philadelphia, 13:26:18.
Women - 1. Sportees Time Travellers, Whitehorse, 13:47:53; 2. Sole Sisters, Anchorage, 14:00:58; 3. Hard Women are Good to Find, Juneau, 15:33:20.
Mixed - 1. Darwin's Tribe, Juneau, 11:54:04; 2. Vestigial Appendages, Juneau, 12:11:57; 3. Severed Appendage Revenge, Thorne Bay, 12:49:59.
Masters open (Men) - 1. Smokin' Ole Geezers, Juneau, 12:21:50; 2. North 60 Jet "A," Whitehorse, 12:46:39; 3. Sorrento Swifts, Whitehorse, 14:24:46.
Masters women - 1. Lady GuDivas, Douglas, 14:01:20; 2. Les Femmes de Tundra, Fairbanks, 14:36:33; 3. Alkan Air's Flying Feet, Whitehorse, 15:53:06.
Masters mixed - 1. The Classics, Anchorage, 12:46:03; 2. Totally Fit Peak Performers I, Anchorage, 13:05:58; 3. Sole Train, Juneau, 14:57:03.
Corporate - 1. Skinny Raven, Anchorage, 14:31:02; 2. Preston Lackowicz & Shier, Whitehorse, 15:27:02; 3. Chicken Run, Eagle River, 15:29:27.
Walkers (completed four legs) - 1. Walk Don't Run '02, Whitehorse, 7:32:26; 2. Sleepwalkers, Whitehorse, 8:39:19.
Individual top-three leg leaders from Juneau and other Southeast teams included:
Leg 1 (8.8 miles): K.K. Prussian, Thorne Bay, Severed Appendage Revenge, second place, 1:06:26; Leg 2 (5.8 miles): JoAnn Quigg, Juneau, Vestigial Apppendages, second place, 47:37; Leg 3 (7.6 miles): Emma Wolf, Whitehorse, Darwin's Tribe, first place, 51:26; Lachelle Crotteau, Juneau, Severed Appendage Revenge, second, 52:58; Leg 4 (13.3 miles): Heather Lende, Haines, Lady GuDivas, third place, 1:35:34; Leg 5 (14 miles): Sue McCarthy, San Diego, Lady GuDivas, second, 1:42:07; Leg 6 (16 miles): Michelle Sebern, Gustavus, Gustavus Roadrunners, third place, 1:57:39; Leg 9 (11.1 miles): Gretchen Klien, Ketchikan, Severed Appendage Revenge, first place, 1:15:18; Sue Doherty, Vestigial Apppendages, second place, 1:16:32; 3. Debbie Groves, Juneau, Lady GuDivas, third place, 1:18:30; Leg 10 (11.9 miles): Sue Ford, Juneau, Team Survivor Perseverance, third place, 1:30:05.
Leg 4: Mike Haney, Richmond, Va., Darwin's Tribe, second place, 1:16:23; 3. Ken Maas, Juneau, Vestigial Appendages, third place, 1:19:13; Leg 5: Tom Casey, Juneau, Darwin's Tribe, second place, 1:21:00; Leg 6: Shawn Miller, Juneau, Darwin's Tribe, second place, 1:35:18; Robert Sowers, Vestigial Appendages, third place, 1:36:31; Leg 7 (8.8 miles): George Johnson, Juneau, Darwin's Tribe, first place, 53:54; Andy Grossman, Juneau, Smokin' Ole Geezers, third place, 1:00:58; Leg 8 (12.3 miles): Frank Sprtel, Takoma Park, Md., Darwin's Tribe, first place, 1:08:38; David Tappe, Anchorage, Severed Appendage Revenge, third place, 1:12:36; Leg 9: Don Eagle, Juneau, Darwin's Tribe, second place, 1:08:11; Jerry Buckley, Juneau, Smokin' Ole Geezers, third place, 1:12:35; Leg 10: Guy Thibodeau, Juneau, Smokin' Ole Geezers, second place, 1:11:15; Mike Crotteau, Juneau, Severed Appendage Revenge, third place, 1:12:29.
Complete results will be published in the Empire later this week.