Registration Open For Yukon River Quest

Registrations opened November 1, 2015 for the 18th annual Yukon River Quest, which will be held June 29 to July 3, 2016.

The 715-kilometer (444-mile) wilderness adventure paddling race is held on the Yukon River from Whitehorse to Dawson City in Canada’s Yukon Territory. Held during the last week of June, the YRQ is the world’s longest annual canoe and kayak race.  It is known as the “Race to the Midnight Sun,” as paddlers race round-the-clock under a sky that never gets dark. There are just two mandatory rest stops – totaling 10 hours – over the course of the entire event.

One of the 10 toughest adventure races in the world

The Yukon River Quest in 2014 was named one of the ten toughest races in the world by renowned adventure racer and “Boundless” TV star Simon Donato, and is widely known as Canada’s toughest adventure race.

Online entry forms are available on the race website under the Register tab. Entry fees remain $850 (CAD) for tandem canoes and kayaks, $475 for solo canoes and kayaks, and $250 per person for voyageur canoe teams of six or more paddlers.

Paddleboards allowed for first time

For the first time, standup paddleboards will be allowed to enter as an experimental class. There are already a handful signed up, including famed expedition paddleboarder Bart de Zwart.  Each paddleboarder must supply the race a resume of racing experience or extensive adventure paddling in SUP, as well as the specs of their boards. If enough of these craft can meet the 84-hour cut-off time and finish the race without taxing the race’s safety team and volunteers it may be there to stay. 

Deadline for entries is May 15, 2016, but teams are encouraged to register early due to the worldwide popularity of the event. There is a limit of 100 canoe and kayak teams, which includes a limit of 30 solo teams. These solo teams should register immediately to reserve a slot. Paddlers should have race or wilderness paddling experience, and all boats must meet the specifications defined in the 2016 YRQ Rules posted on the website.

Participants and spectators from around the world

Teams are required to have a SPOT device mounted on top of their boats and activated for tracking before their team is officially registered. Introduced in 2012, this requirement allowed teams to be able to be tracked during the race from links on the Yukon River Quest website. It has been hugely popular with spectators all over the world. During the 2015 race there was a reach of more than 31,000 people via Facebook as well.

The 2016 race purse will be $36,500 (CAD) if a full roster of 100 teams is registered by the May 15 deadline. Otherwise the purse is adjusted downward on a percentage basis.

The Yukon River Quest draws participants from all over the world. In 2015, 57 teams from 12 countries started the race and 44 teams finished. First team in was the USA-Canada tandem kayak Time To Go paddled by David Hutchinson of Montana and Bob Ross of Ontario in 44 hours, 51 minutes, 07 seconds, followed by tandem canoe team Perfect Storm from Ontario paddled by Gaetan Plourde and Jeff Brainard in 45:33:46, the Canada-USA women’s voyageur team 3-2-1- Go in 49:29:17, and the top solo team, Northshore Paddler Martin Rother of British Columbia in 49:29:30. They were the only teams to break the 50-hour barrier; times overall were slow for the second straight year due to a lower than normal river and stormy conditions late in the race.

The course record still belongs to Canadian voyageur Team Kisseynew’s winning time of 39:32:43 in 2008.

Teams must finish the YRQ in 55 hours to receive prize money, but many do the race for the personal satisfaction of staking their claim to a coveted finisher pin in historic Dawson City. Aside from two mandatory layovers at Carmacks (7 hours) and Kirkman Creek (3 hours), teams paddle non-stop to reach the “City of Gold”.

For more information, view the pre-registration instructions, rules, and numerous paddler preparation links at For current news watch the site and the race’s Facebook page.



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