22 Jan Is he Barking Mad?
Nifty Australia’s John King will soon be taking part in two gruelling dog sled races to be held in the -35ºC temperatures of Canada’s Yukon Territory. Is he barking mad?
On February 2, 2013, John will begin his attempt to complete the ‘Yukon Quest 300’. The Quest is a 300 mile dog sled race through the wilderness in Canada’s Yukon Territory. This year is the 30th anniversary for the YQ, but it will be John’s first ever dog sled race. He will face stretches of up to 100 miles (160 km) between checkpoints whilst caring for his team of 12 sled dogs in temperatures that often drop below -35ºC.
In March John will also attempt the Percy 200 from Dawson City, Yukon. The Percy is a 200 mile, 9 dog race to Eagle, Alaska, and back to Dawson City along a memorial mail run route. The mail between Dawson and Eagle was carried by dogsled until the 1940’s by Percy DeWolfe, who ran this route with his team of 9 sled dogs. If John succeeds in both of these races he will be qualified to run the thousand mile Yukon Quest, which runs between Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada and Fairbanks, Alaska, USA each year, starting odd years in the Yukon, and even years in Alaska. If John completes a second 300 mile race, he will also be qualified for Alaska’s famous and notorious Iditarod.
At present John is training with a 12 dog team at Hans Gatt’s ranch in Whitehorse Canada. Hans has won dog sled races from sprint through mid-distance to stage, and long distance all over the world, including the ‘Yukon Quest 1000’ four times.
“To be learning off someone as experienced as Hans is great and should prepare me well for the race” states John King, “As you can imagine it’s a great adventure but it’s all about the dogs, there are check points at four locations with veterinarians on hand to make sure the dogs are in good shape and being looked after.”
“I have heard people say that this is cruel for the dogs. If only they could come up to Canada and see this! The dogs are so well looked after and when you start to harness the dogs to go out for the day they are as excited as I am – they really do love it. At present I am alternating between short 30 mile runs and 100 mile runs. On the 100 mile runs we do fifty miles, rest the dogs for a couple of hours then return with them, and the recover after the run is amazingly quick. The dogs then get a well deserved rest for a couple of days.”
John will be using Hans Gatt’s dogs and his ‘Gattsled’ racing sled for the training and for the race. Hans has been training the dogs for the last four months and the team looks fantastic. Hans’s partner Susie Rogan will be racing the Yukon Quest 1000 mile race.
If you would like to find out more about the race go to www.yukonquest.com. This shows information on both the Yukon Quest 1000 and the Yukon Quest 300.
John would like to thank Niftylift Ltd, and Nifty Australia for their support and understanding during his Yukon Quest.
Niftylift would like to wish John the very best of luck with this challenging endeavour and that he returns safely upon completing it. Good luck John!