Rob Cooke was the first musher to sign up for the 2020 Yukon Quest in Whitehorse on Aug. 3, 2019. The Yukon Quest Joint Board of Directors announced that there will be two separate races held in 2021 and signup that has been postponed until September. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)

Yukon Quest announces plans for two separate races

Due to COVID-19, separate races will be held in Alaska and the Yukon

The Yukon Quest announced in a press release on June 17 that there will be two races held next winter – one in Alaska and one in the Yukon.

According to the release, the Joint Board of Directors made the decision based on a “number of factors,” including financial difficulties at the Alaskan office.

“We’re working hard to find solutions for our financial situation,” said Dave Dalton, president of the Alaska board of directors.

“We’ve weighted what we can feasibly commit to for the 2021 race season and have determined that it makes the most sense to scale back this year and focus our efforts and resources on a shorter race in Alaska.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has put financial strain on the organization, sponsors and mushers, in addition to making race logistics more difficult than usual.

“Not only has this provided uncertainty regarding necessary logistics for the 1,000-mile race, but we also acknowledge that a number of sponsors have also been impacted and may not be able to support the race in 2021 the same way they have been able to do in past years,” said Bev Regier, president of the Yukon board of directors.

The Alaska and Yukon boards of directors are in the “beginning stages” of race planning.

Race distance, trail details and other information will be released as available.

Earlier on June 12, organizers announced sign up had been postponed from August to September.

The race was originally scheduled to run from Whitehorse to Fairbanks, Alaska, in 2021.

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

Yukon Quest

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