The Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race has been running between Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory of Canada and Fairbanks, Alaska since 1984. The Yukon Quest Trail crosses frozen rivers and four mountain summits. There are nine checkpoints; some of which are more than 200 miles apart as well as five "dog drop" and/or hospitality stops in-between checkpoints.
The Yukon Quest website has some excellent information about the race and its history so when you get a moment - check it out. "The Yukon Quest Trail follows historical Gold Rush and mail delivery dog sled routes from the turn of the 20th Century. Once the transportation “highways” of the Northern frontier, the Yukon Quest Trail now comes alive each February with the frosty breath and haunting howls of hundreds of sled dogs. Up to 50 dog teams consisting of one human 'musher' and 14 canine athletes tread across some of the last pristine wilderness remaining in North America."
The race is known for its sometimes rough terrain and extreme weather conditions. Being run in February the temperatures are certainly unpredictable - one year it can be run in frigid -40F conditions and the next year it could be +30F, with the conditions changing as the race goes on.
Allen and the SP Kennel Black Team are the defending champions of the Yukon Quest 1000. He's looking forward to starting the race and getting out on the trail after many weeks of training, planning and build-up. There will be 26 teams starting on Saturday.
Allen hugs Quito at the finish line in Takhini Hot Springs; Aliy with her YQ300 leaders Honda and Pud at the start of the YQ300 in Fairbanks
Each year the Yukon Quest 300 mile race is run at the same time. This year it starts in Whitehorse and travels the same route as the 1000 mile race until Pelly Crossing. Once there the teams do an out-and-back loop and cross the finish line back in Pelly.
Aliy and the SPK Red Team are the defending champions of the YQ300, having last year won it on the north route (from Fairbanks to Circle and doubling back to Central). They will start on Saturday a few hours after the 1000 milers and she will be running a youthful team in this race. 23 teams will start the YQ300.
The starting bib draw for the YQ1000 will happen at the Starters Banquet on Thursday evening and for the YQ300 at the mushers meeting on Friday so we will let you know our teams' starting positions as soon as we know. Team rosters will be out on Saturday morning as the starting line-up of both teams is not finalised yet.