U.P. 200 remains in Marquette

Hannah Fermanich

This year’s sparse snowfall has left the coordinators of the U.P. 200, a local sled dog race, looking for alternative options for the coming race this weekend.

The U.P. 200 has always had its start in Downtown Marquette on Washington Street, but this year changes have been made to accommodate the lack of snow in the city. While the trails the mushers will take have changed, the start of the race will still take place in Marquette.

“Mainly it was changed last week because of very little snow between Marquette and Harvey,” said Pam Forsberg, secretary treasurer of the U.P. 200.

According to the U.P. 200 website, the opening ceremony for the Midnight Run start will still take place in Marquette on Friday, Feb. 17 starting at 6:30 p.m. The Midnight Run will have a ceremonial start at 7:10 p.m. in front of The Mining Journal building before restarting the race in Chatham at 8 p.m. There are 31 teams participating in the race this year.

“A few miles have been added to make up for not starting in Marquette,” Forsberg said.

The opening ceremony is planned to be the same as before. The event will include speakers from the race’s major sponsors as well as entertainment from NMU’s brass band, and the flag will be presented by the Marine Corps League Color Guard, Forsberg said.

While the change in trail won’t affect the experience for spectators at the opening ceremony, volunteer coordination has had to shuffle people around in order to accommodate the change.

“It’s made it a bit more of a challenge,” said Anna Sanford, volunteer coordinator for the U.P. 200. “We had a large amount of volunteers placed in Harvey, but the race isn’t going through Harvey anymore.”

According to Sanford, NMU student volunteers have been a key part of the success of the U.P. 200. She appreciates the energy and enthusiasm the students bring to the event year after year.

“I don’t think we could put these on without them,” Sanford said.

The U.P. 200 got its start in 1990 with the help of musher Jeffrey Mann. Moved to Marquette in the summer of 1988 and was looking for local trails to run his dogs on. He met other mushers in the area and together they began creating a plan for a 240-mile race.

The U.P. 200 is still in need of volunteers to help with the race this weekend.

Sanford is looking for volunteers to help mushers cross the roads during through the night on Friday, Feb. 17 in Alger County as well as a few more volunteers to help with crowd control during the opening ceremony.

Anyone who is interested in volunteering should call Anna Sanford at (906) 869-4827 or e-mail [email protected]. For details visit www.up200.org.