PUBLISHED: 4:25 PM on Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Runners ready for road relay race
Southeast Alaska runners are starting to gear up for the 26th annual Klondike Road Relay from Skagway to Whitehorse held Sept 5-6. The official registration period began July 25 and will continue through the end of August.

The relay, a fundraiser for the Sport Yukon Organization, challenges participants to complete anywhere from a six to 16km relay leg.

photo courtesy of Charity Platt
  Tara Jeans, right, of team "Fast Women: and We Run Too," finishes the ninth leg of a past Klondike Road Relay and hands off to Maren Haavig, who runs the final leg.
Runners will begin around 7 p.m. in Skagway, rise up 3,300 feet into the mountains, and then slowly decline to Whitehorse around noon the next day. With ten legs to run, relay teams consist of between six and ten runners and fit into one of eight different groupings, including mixed, men's, women's, masters and youth categories. New for 2008 is a youth category.

"The committee decided to engage youth in order to bring in new participants." Race Director Trevor Twardochleb, said. "In order to incorporate more youth, there will be shorter races that just include certain legs."

Twardochleb said he hopes to introduce youth to the relay, but he is keeping their developmental needs in mind by limiting youth legs to 10km or less. One of the goals is to bring new runners to the popular repeat race. Many who attend the relay are return runners.

Charity Platt, of Juneau, has participated seven times with her team "Fast Women: and We Run Too" and plans to run again this fall. Platt will be running the eighth leg of the race and said her personal goal is to eventually run every leg.

"I prefer the night legs," Platt said. "I like to be out in the dark, running at some absurd time with my girlfriends cheering me on."

Platt said her team runs for the challenge and the fun of the race, while their sister team, "Hard Women are Good to Find," is a bit more competitive. In 2007, "Hard Women are Good to Find" took first place in the women's category.

Twardochleb said teams enter the race for different reasons.

"Some come for the challenge, others as a summer wrap up, and some just to get out of the rain," he said. "Really, about 65 percent of the runners come from Alaska, and many of those are from Juneau."

For some, the award ceremony is as much a part of the event as the race.

"After spending the whole night running we get showered, go to dinner at Giorgios, then go to the dance and work out the lactic acid," Platt said. "It's like a workout weekend."

Medals are given for the winners in each category and a plaque goes to the fastest man and fastest woman in each leg of the race. After awards are handed out, runners dance through the night.

"I don't know how they run so far and then dance all night, but they always do," Twardochleb said.

Interested teams can register and find more information online at