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Record field signs up for White Mountains 100

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Posted: Thursday, October 4, 2012 12:16 am

FAIRBANKS — A record 138 people signed up for the 65 starting slots in the 2013 White Mountains 100 endurance race in March.

As a result, there are currently more people on the waiting list than there are in the race, which is open to bicyclists, skiers and runners at this point.

Organizers of the 100-mile, human-powered race in the White Mountains National Recreation Area held a lottery Monday night at the University of Alaska Fairbanks pub to draw names for the 65 starting positions, as well as the waiting list. When it was over, there were 73 people on the waiting list.

“Last year at the peak we had about 55 on the waiting list,” race organizer Ed Plumb of Fairbanks said.

The 138 entrants is a record but Plumb was surprised it wasn’t even higher, given the fact the Susitna 100, a human-powered race held in the Matanuska Valley in February, won’t be held next this winter.

“I actually thought there were would be more (people sign up) because the Susitna 100 is not happening this year,” he said.

The race is scheduled for a March 24 start.

Four of last year’s six winners are set to return to defend their titles. Men’s and women’s bike winners Tim Bernston and Janice Tower, both of Anchorage, opted to accept two of the six spots reserved for the previous year’s winners, as did defending running winners Ronni Grapenthin, of California, and Laura McDonough of Anchorage. Last year’s ski division winners, Rob Whitney and Amy Rideout, did not sign up.

After glancing over the sign-up list, Plumb said about two-thirds of the 65 entrants who were picked for the race are rookies. The majority of racers are from Alaska but there are also entrants from Spain, Singapore, Britain, Canada and several Lower 48 states.

In the past three years, Plumb said, anyone who has remained on the waiting list has gotten into the race, even last year when there were more than 50 people on the waiting list at one point. Inevitably, some people who won spots in the race end up dropping out, as do many people on the waiting list.

“The wait list is bigger this year, so that probably won’t be the case,” Plumb said.

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