Yukon River Trail Marathon
04 August 2019
Run on scenic trails in the Yukon River valley. Events include marathon, half-marathon and a four-person relay.Yukon Territory has everything the hard-core trail runner can ask for: breathtaking scenery, challenging and rugged terrain, and best of all, on any given day, you have most of it all to yourself.The Yukon River Trail marathon course is a favourite places to run. Hosted by the Trail Marathon Association in the first weekend in August, it’s been called the toughest marathon in North America.Whether you’re coming for the marathon or just visiting Whitehorse and want to run some great trails, this course has something for you. The official race course is divided into four sections ranging from 8K to 13K. The race begins in Rotary Park and runs the first several kilometres along the Millennium Trail, along Schwatka Lake for a couple of kilometres and then hits the trail.From broad valleys to rushing rivers to endless mountain ranges, over 80 percent of the Yukon is wilderness. Discover our iconic parks. View wildlife that is still wild. Experience world-famous rivers. Our wild places host unforgettable journeys.There is 3.5 km paved path at both the beginning and end of the course. The remainder of the course is mostly single-track foot paths. There are many roots so care is needed.
The race begins and ends in Rotary Peace Park. The course is divided into four legs, ranging in length from 8 to 13.km. The marathon and relay routes consist of all four legs. The half-marathon consists of legs 1 and 4.Leg 1 - 8 kilometers: Starting at Rotary Peace Park (on the West Side of the Yukon River), runners cross under the Robert Campbell Bridge, then take a hard right turn and onto the bridge before meeting up with the Millennium Trail (on the East side of the Yukon River) to the Rotary Centennial Bridge. Cross the Bridge (back to the West Side) and follow the trail through the Robert Service Campground, crossing the parking lot to the South Access Road. Turn left at South Access, passing Yukon Energy Corporation's Whitehorse Rapids Plant. Cut left on Schwatka Lake Road and continue to the float plane dock, where a sharp right turn is made up the embankement and the railway tracks are crossed. Following the trail approx. 1.6km to emerge alongside the Miles Canyon Road for about 50 meters before turning right onto a short narrow section. This takes the runner to the crossing point at the top of the first big hill on Miles Canyon Road. Cross the road and follow the trail which shortly reaches the escarpment, down to 'Saddle' on the side of the road and down a narrow trail that follows Miles Canyon and crosses the new 'single-track' bridge before re-joining the Miles Canyon access road.After a short section on the road (100-150 meters), drop down a short, steep trail, and across Miles Canyon Suspension Bridge. Fluids are available here and this is the first exchange point for the relay. Half-marathoners turn left here, and follow Leg 4 along the east shore of Schwatka Lake.Leg 2 - 11.5 kilometers: Runners in the marathon, relay event turn right at the bridge, and follow the Yukon River trail through Canyon City.EXTREME CAUTION should be used as there are some steep drop offs to the river. Keep your eyes on the terrain, not the scenery.Continue along the river trail for a few kilometers, there is an aid station, a 1km out and back and then a sharp sharp right turn in the direction of Chadburn Lake. Follow a log-strewn trail with a long, steep hill to Chadburn Lake picnic shelter. Food, drinks, and toilets are available here; this is Checkpoint #2 - the second exchange point for the relay.Leg 3 - 9.7 kilometers: Continue along Chadburn Lake and over to Chadden Lake. Follow the low-lying trail along Chadden Lake until directed up a hill. Continue along rolling hills to the end of the lake where there is a BIG hill leading to a lookout above the lake (water is available here). Follow the undulating trail for a couple of kilometers before making a sharp left turn up a steep trail to the Chadburn Lake Blue ski trail. Follow the Blue ski trail, cross Chadburn Lake Road. Run through the ski trail parking lot and back to the Miles Canyon Suspension Bridge. This is the Checkpoint #3 and the third exchange point for the relay. Food and fluids are available here.Leg 4 - 13 kilometers: From the Miles Canyon foot bridge, the course turns north and follows the east shore of Schwatka Lake past the boat launch and up a short path to the right. The trail continues above the lake, and returns to lake level after a few kilometers. Continue through the picnic area where water is available and then cutting right toward the Chadburn lake road, crossing it and then looping around Hidden Lakes (on your left). The trail initially rises, then descends to lake level and then back up a steep climb to overlook the lakes. The trail undulates, but stays high before slipping down to the open area before Heart Break Hill (your old friend is back!) Ascend Heart Break and then enjoy the bone jaring descent to the Chadburn Lake road and the weezing climb up the dam hill just after crossing the road. Enjoy the awesome view over Schwatka Lake to the green Yukon River Valley and beyond to Mount Lorne and Golden Horn Mountains. The trail descends to the river to a water stop and the Millennium Trail. Cross the Rotary Centennial Bridge, and continue along the paved trail, running under the Robert Campbell Bridge to finish at Rotary Park.
Enjoy the natural beauty of Yukon River valley in Whitehorse, Yukon. For much of the course, you will be running along side of (or above) the Yukon River or one of a few small pothole lakes.
Start and finish are at Rotary Park, there is limited parking. However, there is parking available in the adjacent Yukon Government parking lot.
Fluids are available at kilometres 4.1, 8, 13.1, 17.3, 21.2, 27, 31.2, 36.3. Food is available at Checkpoints 1 (8 km), 2 (17.3 km) and 3 (27 km) - there are no gels on the course.
Runners between the ages of 14 and 39 years on race day fall in the Open category. The Masters category is for runners who are between the ages of 40 and 49 years on race day, and the Masters Plus category is for anyone who is 50 to 59 years of age. Masters Plus Plus are 60 years of age or older on race day.
Awards consistent of gift cards which may be used at Sports Experts, Coast Mountain Sports or Board Stiff. You must be physically present in Rotary Park when the awards are presented to claim the award. Awards are provided for the first 3 places in all age group categories for marathon and half marathon running events. For relay runners, awards are provided for the first 3 teams in the men's, women's and mixed categories. Awards are not provided for walkers since we are unable to supervise the "walking" requirement.
The race cut-off for all events is 6 hours from the start of the full marathon, or 2:30 pm.
Gatorade. It's available at the Miles Canyon Bridge, Chadburn Lake picnic area, Schwatka Lake and the final Chadburn Lake Road crossing.