U.P. 200 Preparations

The warmer weather will also have an impact on the the 22nd annual U.P. 200 and Midnight Run this weekend.

Sled dog teams from across the Midwest, and one or two from Canada, are hitting the trails starting from downtown Marquette in three days.

The race headquarters opens tomorrow at the Marquette Holiday Inn.

Volunteers have been there all day setting up, and getting merchandise ready for sale.

The preparation has gone well.

But Mother Nature may throw a monkey wrench into it.

U.P. Sled Dog Association president Pat Torreano says the race committee is worried about what the high temperatures will do to the trail grooming, but they’ll address it tomorrow night at their last meeting before the races.

There are 19 teams entered in the U.P. 200.

The Midnight Run has 17 registered mushers.

And that’s down a little bit from what each races would normally see.

Torreano says that’s been the norm with other sled dog races she’s checked with this season, saying winter weather in much of the country hasn’t allowed for much training and high fuel prices make it more expensive to transport a large dog team than mushers would like.

The Midnight Run and Jack Pine 30 events both have new starting locations this year.

They’re both at Gwinn High School instead of Larry’s Family Foods because of safety issues over proximity to car traffic on M-35.

The Midnight Run starts there Friday night and the Jack Pine 30 Saturday morning.