On your mark, get set, mush
The 13th edition of the Ivakkak dog team race sets off from Kangiqsujuaq
And they’re off!
The 13th edition of Nunavik’s dog team Ivakkak race set off from the Hudson Strait community of Kangiqsujuaq March 10 under mostly clear skies.
This year’s race consists of 11 teams hailing from Kuujjuaq, Tasiujaq, Quaqtaq, Kangiqsujuaq and Puvirnituq, each led by teams of 10 to 12 dogs.
Over the next week, mushers will travel roughly 500 kilometres, passing through Kangirsuk and Aupaluk en route to the finish line in Tasiujaq.
The team to beat: Puvirnituq’s Peter Ittukallak and Juani Nutaraaluk of Puvirnituq, who won the 2013 Ivakkak cup with a final time of 55 hours and 52 minutes.
But the participating teams include a number of other seasoned mushers, including Allen Gordon, who is riding with co-musher Johnny Kooktook, Kuujjuaq’s Junior May and his partner Charlie Snowball, Quaqtaq’s Harry Okpik with Adamie Michaud and Puvirnituq’s Novalinga Novalinga and Johnny Sivuarapik.
You can follow the teams here with Ivakkak’s live tracker tool.
Marshal Johnny Oovaut will oversee the race with help from officials Charlie Alaku, Timothy Etidloie and Peter Annahatak. Ivakkak staff also include a six-member support crew, veterinarian Jullie Decrocq and photographer Pierre Dunnigan.
Organizers of the 2014 edition of Ivakkak are expecting mushers will take roughly 10 days to complete the race, depending on weather, but so far, the forecast looks good along the Ungava coast. Environment Canada is calling for clear, sunny skies and steady temperatures at about -23C.
Nunavik’s dog team race was first held by the Makivik Corp. in 2001 to encourage Nunavimmiut to carry on with dog sledding, nearly wiped out following the killing of Inuit dogs in the 1950s and 1960s.
Today, only Inuit are eligible to participate in the race.