After 715km and 49 hours, 2 Fil-Canadian brothers conquer ‘world’s toughest paddling race’
Two brothers conquering what’s dubbed The Race to the Midnight Sun sounds like the stuff of movies, but that’s exactly what Filipino-Canadians John, 28, and Josh, 20, Apostol accomplished last July 7.
The brothers are the first Filipinos to join the Yukon River Quest, a 715-kilometer marathon paddling race from Whitehorse to Dawson City that’s considered the world’s toughest to finish. With their canoe named “Pangal Norte,” named after the barangay in Isabela where they grew up, the Apostols reached the finish line after 49 hours of paddling day and night.
Training under last year’s champion Robert Spinks, the rookie brothers achieved the incredible feat of placing second in tandem canoe and sixth overall. John Apostol told Yukon News that they’ve been training five times a week, two hours at a time, for the last three months and that his personal goal was to finish the race in less than 50 hours.
The 140 paddlers competing in the 2023 Yukon River Quest, which started at the Rotary Peace Park, faced irregular waves on Lake Laberge and daytime high temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius. But for the brothers, the biggest challenge, according to a separate interview with TFC News, was staying awake.
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Will the brothers return next year? Possibly. But right now, they’ve already made the Filipino community in Whitehorse and in the Philippines proud.
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