If the temperatures and waning sunlight haven’t already tipped you off that autumn is nearly here, this weekend is the last big sporting event of the season for the area. That’s the Klondike Trail of ’98 International Road Relay. And this year will have the biggest group of participants yet for the race’s 31st year. That’s according to Kevin Patterson, Events Coordinator with Sport Yukon.

“It’s a 181 teams this year which is 18 to 20 more teams than our record we had in 1998.”

The race begins Friday evening at 6 p.m. (Alaska Time) in Skagway as teams take off for the 108 miles to Whitehorse. Racers begin finishing Saturday afternoon at Rotary Peace Park on the banks of the Yukon River in Whitehorse with an awards ceremony to follow and dance later that evening. There is also a beer garden at the finish line this year, something new to the event, says Patterson.

There are several race categories for teams of runners. There are also walking and youth teams that join the race at Carcross on Saturday morning.

There were two new categories opened this year on different ends of the athletic spectrum – an eight person walking team category and an ultra-category. Four men, including one from Chicago, are registered for the ultra-category in which one person ones the entire 108 miles, Patterson said.

“Which have four people who are running the entire distance of the race. Which is crazy.”

Weather for the race is forecasted to be much like it has been – cloudy with rain likely overnight Friday along Taiya Inlet and the Klondike Highway with lows in the high 40s.

For more information on Klondike Road Relay preparations and results when they come in, check out the road relay’s Facebook page.