The Yukon River Quest: 715km of dehydration, hallucinations and days that never end

It’s been more than a week since we finished the Yukon River Quest and I still can’t feel one of my big toes. Apparently nerve damage is a standard result of paddling three days, three nights and 715km (444 miles) down a long, cold river in Canada. My toe should “thaw out” in a month or toe, but I’ll have to wait another 12 months to experience the Yukon again.

And that’s the craziest thing about this race: despite going through a torturous test of sleep deprivation, dehydration and hallucinations, I have an overwhelming desire to do it all again. There’s something addictive about these ultras.

The Yukon River Quest is so much more than just a race, and therein lies its appeal. It’s part-race, part-adventure, part-journey into your own mind and beyond. It’s both marvelous and miserable, beautiful and boring, fascinating and fucking difficult. And it all takes place in one of the most breathtakingly-remote parts of the world you’re ever likely to visit.   → READ MORE

Yukon River Quest: Quick highlights reel

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HIGHLIGHTS REEL 🎬 The Yukon River Quest is three days, three nights and one crazy big adventure. It'll test you physically, it'll try to break you mentally, and it'll leave you feeling a mixture of accomplishment and relief. Add it to your bucket list for next year if you want to push yourself beyond your limits, and sign up for one of the upcoming "ultras" in Jersey, Friesland, Scotland, Ibiza and Thailand in the meantime.⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Welcome to The Ultra Paddle League ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Current event schedule: 8x races⁣⁣⁣⁣ Current distance: 1654 kilometres / 1027 miles⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ 🌍🌎🌏⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Yukon River Quest ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ 715km / 444 miles ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ June 26-29⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Yukon Territory, Canada ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ @yukonriverquestmedia⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Jersey Round Island Challenge ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ 65km / 40 miles ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ August 31 ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Jersey, British Channel Islands⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ @jerseyroundislandchallenge⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ 11 City Tour: Non-stop ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ 220km / 136 miles ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ September 7-8⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Friesland, Netherlands ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ @sup11citytour ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ 11 City Tour: Five-day ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ 220km / 136 miles ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ September 11-15⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Friesland, Netherlands ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ @sup11citytour⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Great Glen Challenge⁣⁣: Two-day⁣⁣⁣ 92km / 57 miles ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ September 21-22⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Scotland ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ Great Glen Challenge: Non-stop⁣⁣⁣ 92km / 57 miles ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ September 22⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Scotland ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ SUP 11 X: Ibiza ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ 130km / 80 miles ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ October 23-27⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Ibiza, Spain ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ @sup11x⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ SUP 11 X: Thailand ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ 120km / 75 miles ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Nov 27 – Dec 1⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Koh Chang, Thailand ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ @sup11x⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ 🌏🌍🌎⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ We're aiming to add more great "ultra" events to The Ultra Paddle League in the coming weeks. Races such as Muskoka, MR340, AL650, Dordogne, Yukon 1000, Massive Murray, CFC, CRQ, C100 and many more are on our radar. Which other ultras would you like to see us promote? 🤔 #ultrapaddleleague @supyukon

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71 hours later… The Yukon River Quest is complete.

We made it! I’m not sure how, and I’m still not entirely sure why, but I finished the 715km Yukon River Quest alongside half a dozen other stand up paddlers and scores of crazy canoe and kayak competitors.

We had headwind, we had hypothermia, and we had one hell of a long paddle down a river in Canada. The Yukon River Quest is more than just a race, it’s an adventure. It’s a total trip that’ll stretch your body and mind far beyond its comfortable borders.

We’ll have more coverage in the coming days, but for now here are the final times of the SUP finishers.   → READ MORE

715kms down a cold river in Canada: When/where/how to follow the Yukon River Quest

Welcome to the Yukon River Quest aka “Why are we paddling 715km down a cold river in Canada?!”

Over the next three days, Bart de Zwart and myself, along with eight other stand up paddlers and hundreds of canoe/kayak competitors will be attempting to conquer the mighty Yukon River in ultra-remote, north-west Canada. Known as the “Race to the Midnight Sun,” the YRQ is the longest annual paddling race in the world.

Here’s how to follow…   → READ MORE