Gunflint Mail Run

The Gunflint Mail Run is coming up this weekend on the Gunflint Trail. It’s a great sled dog race that is comprised of two legs of equal distance with a layover in between.  The 12-dog race is 110 miles long and a shorter 70 mile race is for 8-dog teams.

The race begins and ends at Trail Center so it’s a great place to see the race action. Sled dogs are amazing animals and it’s so much fun to hear them barking with excitement and see them running down the lake.

If you do decide to take advantage of the opportunity to watch the race then check out the following information for times and spectator etiquette from the Mail Run website.

Here are some quick reminders for viewing the race:

  • Don’t bring your own dog. Small dogs look like Scooby snacks to the race dogs. Even larger dogs can get into trouble, since the excitement of a sled-dog race can make dogs act out. We don’t want any dogs or humans injured during the course of our races.
  • For those who are watching the race at the road crossings, remember that these crossings should be approached with caution, because the teams are moving very quickly.  It’s more important than ever to obey all traffic laws and drive with extra caution during the races.
  • Feel free to take pictures! However, please avoid using flash while the dogs are moving from their truck to the starting line, or from the starting line to their trucks, since the flash can be distracting. Also, please don’t use flash when the dogs are sleeping–they are working hard during the race and their sleep time is important.
  • Please don’t pet the dogs. While most of the dogs would like it and accept it willingly, they have a race to run and the mushers want to keep them focused on that.
  • Sled dog racing is an unusual sport in that spectators can be very close to the action. Please give space to the dogs as well as their mushers, their handlers, and their veterinarians.
  • Be aware that loud noises and running children can all be unintentional distractions. Please respect our efforts to get our dog teams in and out of the checkpoints with as little distraction as possible.
  • 7 a.m. Blessing of the dogs
  • 8 a.m. First 12-dog team is off!
  • 9 a.m. First 8-dog team is off!
  • Early afternoon – teams begin arriving back at Trail Center from first course
  • 8-dog teams have a 3 hour mandatory layover
  • 12-dog teams have a 5 hour mandatory layover
  • Mid-afternoon – Eight-dog teams begin leaving for the second course
  • Late-afternoon – 12-dog teams begin leaving for the second course
  • Evening – Eight-dog teams begin arriving back at Trail Center from the second course
  • Late night – 12-dog teams begin arriving back at Trail Center from the second course
Photo courtesy of Gunflint Mail Run
Photo courtesy of Gunflint Mail Run

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