The Yukon River Quest is the longest canoe race in Canada, with the journey beginning in Whitehorse and travelling 715 kilometres to Dawson City.
The event was created in 1999 by canoeists in Whitehorse who thought it would be fun to host a canoe marathon event. Since the event’s creation, it has evolved into an international event hosted by the Yukon River Marathon Paddlers Association. To qualify for the event, participants must be able to complete the race in under 85 hours, bring basic survival equipment, and follow all listed rules, which are subject to change each year.
Ragnar Robinson, one of the two men from La Ronge taking part in the event, said that the event is 60–70 hours in length and has one 10-hour mandatory stop.
“The Yukon River Quest is a 715-kilometre paddling race that goes from Whitehorse to Dawson City; there are about 60 teams, and it’s a race that only has one mandatory stop that’s 10 hours in the middle, and it takes about 60 to 70 hours; it’s just sort of an ultra-endurance event for the paddling world,” he said.
“I’ve just always done summer canoe trips with my family and friends and more recreationally, but this just looked like a cool event that would obviously allow me to see new territory and also sort of push myself and see how far I can canoe, so it sounded like a lot of fun.”
Robinson, along with teammate Scott Fraser, have been receiving a lot of community support, such as two $500 cheques to aid in entering the event from the Pimiskatan Canoe Club as well as a canoe built by Martin Bernardin of La Ronge’s Kisseynew Canoe Company, which they will be using in the event.
“Yeah, we’ve had lots of support from the Pimiskatan Canoe Club; they lent us a boat to use during the race, and then Montreal River Outpost has assisted us with getting the boat ready for the race with covers and spray decks, and then LA Interiors has also been very kind and gifted us decals and things for the boat, so yeah, it’s been awesome all the support,” said Robinson.
Robinson and Fraser’s progress can be tracked by going to the event’s website at www.yukonriverquest.com and clicking on the race tracker, the pair will be under the name “Free Animal”. This year’s 2023 Yukon River Quest begins at 9 a.m. on July 4.
(Photo courtesy of the Yukon River Quest.)