Sunday, January 8, 2012

Knik 200 a training run for Team Jonrowe

 Just hours before the weekend's sled dog race was set to kick off, mushing favorite DeeDee Jonrowe posted on her facebook that the Knik 200 was going to be a training run. Jonrowe, 58, runs her kennel out of Willow, Alaska where the Iditarod now starts from. Jonrowe is a long time musher - starting back in 1979 - and, like many mushers, has her sights set on the "big race" in March.

She posted yesterday on her facebook:
"Don't be concerned about wherever Justin High and I finish in Knik 200 tomorrow. This is a training run and both of us have unproven dogs that are out for experience. We are keeping our "eye on the prize", and that is in March. This weekend is about "time on the trail", kind of like "time on your feet" for you runners." 

The Knik 200 is a two day 200 mile sled dog race that starts in Knik and stops at Iditarod checkpoints of Yentna Station and Swentna before doubling back and finishing back at the starting point. The race is used by Iditarod rookies as one of several required mid distance Iditarod qualifying races. Conditions for this year's race couldn't be more perfect with temperatures hovering just below zero and enough snow that it will be a hard, fast paced trail.

The race is dedicated to, and named for, Joe Reddington Sr. who is known as the father of the Iditarod. Reddington was concerned with the dwindling number of sled dogs in Alaska with the boom of airplane transportation and roads. To save the Alaska pioneer way of life, as well as a unique breed of dog, Reddington began his quest to bring mushers together in the early 70s and the first race was run in 1973. Since then the sport has grown in popularity and technology.

According to the latest posts on the Knik 200 facebook and twitter, the first team will cross the finish line around 1:30pm Alaska time today.

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