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XC Ottawa reunites at XC Ski Nationals Distance Race
By:  Sheila Kealey   (2016/03/30)

XC Ottawa has had a special connection to Whitehorse for awhile. It all started when Whitehorse Cross Country ski club athletes began attending Carleton University and joined the team - these athletes included 
And we became friends with many other Whiterhorse skiers who moved to Ottawa to attended Carleton U, including Michael Abbott, Kendra Murray, Sarah Murray, Nansen Murray, Adrienne Hynes, and Pavlina Sudrich. And most of them have returned to Whitehorse.
Their enthusiasm for Whitehorse didn't escape XC Ottawa's Kyle Power, Vesta Mather, Matthias Purdon, and Linnea Rudachyk, who now call Whitehorse home.  Yes, Whitehorse is a special place - especially for skiers! As I described in this article, the cross country ski culture is very strong in Whitehorse.
This year's Canadian Cross Country Ski Championships was a perfect opportunity to visit Whitehorse, and we were able to reunite with much of the Ottawa-Whitehorse crew. We even had an "official" gathering thanks to Kendra Murray.
Many were contributing to the race organization: Kyle was assistant chief of course, Vesta assumed the task of tabulating University results, Lee and Logan spent many hours shoveling to help get the course ready - and they both dawned the Klister costume at some point during the event!
Here is one of them (maybe?) with a CBC reporter covering the event.
Impressively, Lee and Logan, who have been skiing (of course, they live in Whitehorse!) but have not doing much racing, put on race bibs for one of the most grueling events on the ski calendar - the 50 km distance classic race.
Lee's dad Jim took many amazing pictures of the entire event. You can find the full album here.  I've included some of his pictures of the Open Men's and Women's distance event below. 
Overall, the Nationals event was fantastic - many thanks to all the hardworking volunteers. Our XC Ottawa crew partnered with local clubs Nakkertok and Chelsea Nordiq for waxing support - and really appreciated the tremendous efforts of these teams in challenging conditions.   

Women's 30 km Classic

The Women's event started at 11 AM, which meant for tricky waxing to accommodate the rising temperatures, sun, and differing snow conditions on the 7.5 km loop course. Whitehorse's Emily Nishikawa won the event, followed by Cendrine Browne and Nakkertok's Katherine Stewart Jones. Sheila finished 12th and Kyla 18th (unfortunately Ingrid was sick so had to sit out!).
Women's Start
Emily Nishikawa leads Cendrine Browne
Sheila and Nakkertok's Alex Slobodian
Kyla - always looking so happy when she skis!
Carleton U Ravens alumni Kendra Murray

Men's 50 km Classic

The men's race had an impressive field and started early at 8:00 AM, which meant a pretty long day for the wax crew! Alex Harvey, Graham Killick, and Ivan Babikov broke away from the strong pack at about halfway to finish 1, 2, 3.
Men's start
Lead group (and finishing order) - Alex Harvey, Graham Killick, Ivan Babikov

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