30th annual UP 200 kicks off

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MARQUETTE — The UP 200 has quickly become an Upper Peninsula tradition and with this year being the races 30th anniversary, it’s sure to be a great turn-out.

There are many events that the public is welcome to attend. Tonight is the bib draw at the Holiday Inn of Marquette. This is an important event for the mushers because this will tell them what order they will start the race.

Mark Churchill, former musher, explains, “The number one person that leaves will have, you know, no dogs sent in front of them which a lot of times, if they’re trained up well, is not going to make any difference. Some people like to go toward the back. Depends on the personality of your team.”

Also open to the public is the vet check tomorrow at 9am at Riverside Auto.

Churchill continues, “Prior to the race, all the dogs have to go through a check to make sure that they are sound for the race. The vets will do some joint inspections, looking at shoulders, looking at feet.”

The dogs are also checked throughout the race by vets, if needed. Then, Friday night, we begin the races. There are actually three races, the UP 200 and the Midnight Run start on Friday night and the Jackpine 30 starts on Saturday morning.

The UP 200 is the big one. A 12 dog, 238 mile race from Marquette to Grand Marais and back. The Midnight Run is an eight-dog, 94 mile race from Marquette to Chatham and back and finally the Jackpine 30 is a 25 mile loop through Gwinn. 

We are going to have full coverage of the UP 200 events as well as behind the scenes information and fun facts from former racers and race coordinators on our WJMN Local 3 Facebook page throughout the weekend. So be sure to check that out here.

For more information on the races and schedule of events for this weekend, click here.

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