Sunday, February 23 starting at 9:00 am
Ely Soft Ball Complex – Old Airport Rd and Hwy 1, Ely, MN
On race day, spectators have another opportunity to mingle with the mushers and watch them prepare for the race. At 7:00 a.m., the mushers and teams will be in the parking area across the road from the starting line, preparing equipment, themselves, and the dogs that are eager to get on the trail. It is truly a great experience and a chance to get a “behind the scenes” look at the equipment that is used and see how the dogs are prepared. Please be careful of all the gang lines and equipment and stand back to give the dogs space so the mushers can get them ready to run the race.
At 9:00 a.m., the first of the 8-dog teams leaves the race chute for a 50 mile journey through the beautiful and majestic Superior National Forest. You will be amazed at the organization of the race as teams are brought into the start area. The teams are stage for the race in three steps. In the hole is the first spot the teams are moved into, on deck is the next and finally they are led to the starting line. They leave in two minute intervals. The 8-dog race course begins on the Taconite Trail, winds through the forest and then connects to the Bear Head Trail and Fishing Lakes Trail and back onto the Taconite Trail, which brings the teams back to Ely for the finish. The trail time depends on the teams entered, weather conditions and trail conditions. We anticipate the first team to cross the Ely finish line around 1:30 p.m.
After the last 8-dog team leaves the gate, there will be a ten minute break before the first 6-dog team heads out on the trail for a 30 mile trek through the wild and beautiful boreal forest. They also leave at two minute intervals and travel along the Taconite Trail, loops around Purvis Road back to the Taconite State Trail then heads east to finish in Ely (approximately 30 miles). The first team will finish at approximately 12:30 p.m.
Spectators should stand back from the starting line so as not to distract the dogs. Please cooperate with race officials as they are there to help the mushers and keep everyone safe.
As in all sports, it is nice to hear someone cheer you on. We welcome you to the starting line to see how eager the dogs are to get on the trail and to cheer on your favorite team as it heads down the chute and onto the trail.