The healthy side of DCMF

The healthy side of DCMF


Festival-goers pledge to party responsibly with the help of Jeddie Russell (above)

A Summer 2015 Yukon Prospector Web Extra


Every year thousands of people from around the world flock to the Dawson City Music Festival. There they can catch great acts, both up and coming, and Canadian legends.  But even though the festival is known for its rowdy-fun times, there are people working hard to make it a healthy, enjoyable event.

   Since about 1984, the festival has put on a Midnight Dome Run. Contestants of all ages can run or walk the grueling 7.2 km/564 meter incline trail that leads to the top of the Dome. This year's event was sponsored by Air North. The winners from male and female/running and walking categories were offered a free flight to any of the companies major travel hubs. This year around 50 people signed up to the event.

  Jeff Irwin, a 40-year-old math teacher from Orillia paddled up to Dawson with three generations of his family. He says he just likes running and he’s always wanted to get to the top of the dome.

  The event was put on by Run Dawson, a local organization that tries to encourage a running lifestyle. Member Jody Beaumont says the event was originally started by a group of miners. Since it is Dawson City, famous for being rich in gold, the winners were offered a bit of yellow stuff for their trouble.

  The current record holder is a man named Steven Page, who managed to make the trek in a mind-boggling 31 minutes. 

  The fact that the signup booth is at a music festival with a small reputation for drunken antics has yielded a few funny stories. “We’ve had people sign up that weren’t even sure of their own name,” says Beaumont. “But they still showed up and ran.” 


  Jeremy Leathem, a 26-year-old geologist from Edmonton, stopped in Dawson for the festival on his way to Alaska.  When he saw the event, he says he had to sign up. “I just love running,” he says. Although, Leathem said he’d probably cut back on his drinking Friday night.

  Leathem would have a little help staying sober from Jeddie Russell. She was on hand giving out water bottles donated by the Yukon’s Health and Social Services department. In order to get one of the glass-lined bottles, festival goers had to pledge they’d party responsibly, and cut their substance intake with water. “It’s about staying safe, and playing safe, and cutting your substance intake with beautiful Yukon water,” says Russell.

  Her tent handing out the bottles was lined up for a large part of the festival, and hundreds took the pledge. There was also a large water tank on hand that goers could fill up the bottles at all festival. And people who were staying sober had the chance to put on a “sober today” sticker.

  Cassy Mingrin, a 22-year-old student from California, says more festivals should have this sort of initiative. “If I didn’t have this water bottle last night, I’d probably still be in bed this morning,” she says.   

Story and photos by

Jonathan Duncan

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