Iron Dog 2022 will have same trail, new start line

Iron Dog 2022 starts later this month.
Iron Dog 2022 starts later this month.(Austin Sjong)
Published: Feb. 11, 2022 at 9:24 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Last year the “the world’s longest, toughest snowmobile race,” the Iron Dog started and finished in the middle of Big Lake. This year, the race will be starting and finishing at the Menard Sports Center.

With COVID-19 protocols, last year’s Iron Dog was anything but the usual. This year organizers are looking to get back to a sense of normalcy with a few changes sprinkled in. The biggest change is that the race will now start from the Curtis D. Menard Memorial Sports Center. The race will have a ceremonial start of sorts from there before the real start at Big Lake.

“We’re not going to run out of there at race speed. They’re going to be running on caution speed from the Menard Center out to Big Lake, and then they’ll have a quick restart out there and they’ll take off again under race conditions,” said Bob Menne, executive director of Iron Dog.

New sponsors include Red Dog Mine, who sponsored the Kotzebue Loop, which is now being called the Red Dog Loop. Another change is more money in the purse and paying back to more top finishers. Menne also said there will be a $15,000 halfway point prize that is split between the top three teams that make it to Nome first.

As far as COVID-19 protocols this year, being vaccinated isn’t required but organizers will be testing all the racers five days before, and the day before the race.

“Just doing testing, and we feel that is a better policy to be honest with you, because even after you’ve been vaccinated you can still have it,” Menne said. “So we’re just testing everybody thoroughly.”

There are 28 teams signed up for this year’s pro class race, and with nearly double that in the expedition class (a non-competitive trail ride) it is gearing up to be an exciting race.

The expedition class race will start from the Menard Sports Center on Feb. 17 and the pro class race will start on Feb. 19.

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