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Gander resident finishes Cain’s Quest with a personal best

Gander’s Mark Tinkham, left, pictured with racing partner Jeff Crann, has taken part in five Cain’s Quest endurance races.
Gander’s Mark Tinkham, left, pictured with racing partner Jeff Crann, has taken part in five Cain’s Quest endurance races. - Submitted

LABRADOR CITY, NL – While Team 09 wasn’t the first to cross the finish line in this year’s Cain’s Quest endurance race, five-time competitor Mark Tinkham of Gander finished with a personal best.

Tinkham, along with racing partner Jeff Crann, finished 17th out of the 41 competing teams taking part in the approximately 3,200-kilometre snowmobile run across Labrador.

Team 09 were the last racers to cross the finish line in Labrador City before the established time limit had elapsed, which indicates all racers must complete the race within 18 hours of the first-place team. Those who hadn’t completed the race within this timeframe had either scratched or were disqualified.

Team 09 completed the trek with approximately 20 minutes to spare, which Tinkham says speaks to the fast pace established in the 2018 event. He says he was able to complete the race a day ahead of his previous personal best time.
“The pace was a lot faster than previous years,” he said, “and we were dogged with mechanical problems.”

For instance, Team 09 lost two hours of racing time changing a track just outside of Rigolet. Cylinder problems delayed the racers again.

“We’ve still got problems we haven’t got figured out,” he said after the race was completed.

But he doesn’t regret a thing.

“We ran a lot of daylight hours so we got to see a lot of beautiful country and meet some wonderful people,” he said. “When we started running into problems we could have thrown in the towel at any time, but we had a large support team that was doing everything it could to see us across the finish line, so you keep running for them and to teach your children about never quitting, no matter how difficult things get.”

Now that he’s had a chance to thaw out, Tinkham expects this was his last race.

“It’s so fast now, it’s a young man’s race,” he said.

“But I’m sure I’ll still be involved in some capacity, with a race team or the organization.”

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