Dog Sled Races

Sled Dog Races

Dog sled races in Michigan’s upper-peninsula bring winter fun to the Marquette Michigan area.

After enjoying a great Friday sendoff, UP200 teams return to the City throughout Sunday to finish the race in Ellwood Mattson Park, just east of downtown. The fastest teams are usually expected to arrive in the morning, and others continue to cross the finish line throughout the afternoon. Crowds gather all day long to welcome the long-distance teams back to town.

For several years the Midnight Run started in Gwinn, south of Marquette. In 2012 Midnight Run teams will join the UP200 in starting in downtown Marquette, however, they will continue to finish in Munising. At its inception, the Midnight Run, then 68 miles long, started in Chatham and ended in Escanaba, where the UP200 also finished. In recent years, race organizers revised the course to a northern route, more likely to have colder weather and deeper snow.

In its first year, the Jack Pine 30 ran from Chatham and finished in downtown Marquette, but every year since, the planned 30-mile route has been from Gwinn to Marquette. The event will have its 10th running in 2012.

UP200 and Midnight Run mushers compete for a cash purse, paid out over several places. The Jack Pine 30, held on Saturday of UP200 weekend, is a trophy-class event. The last place finisher in all three races takes home the honorable “red lantern award.”

A thread of dog-mushing has always existed in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula dating back to postal runs via dog team. The presence of dog sled races resulted in numerous sled dog kennels springing up across the region. Some kennels are recreational, while others are competitive.

Snowy Plains Kennel

Anyone planning a winter adventure in Northern Michigan should contact a kennel that offers rides and tours.

Marcia and Kathy recommend Snowy Plains Kennel

FAQ! Do the dogs bark while they run, like in the old movies?
Answer: The truth is, hardly ever! They are too focused on running, but, as with most things there are always a few exceptions.

Jackie Winkowski

Author Jackie Winkowski writes uplifting stories about sled dogs inspired by true events and real dogs. Your children will enjoy every adventure!

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