The Yukon-side races of the 2022 Yukon Quest have begun.
Mushers were cheered on by a small crowd as they left Shipyards Park around 3 p.m. on Feb. 19. Seven will compete in the 100-mile race and 10 will compete in the 300-mile race.
Lori Tweddell, Louve Tweddell, Martine Le Levier, Katherine Lapointe, Nathaniel Hamlyn, Ilana Kingsley and Jonathan Alsbergh will all compete in the shorter race.
The longer race competitors are Brent Sass, Connor McMahon, Paul Hamlyn, Jerry Joinson, Mayla Hill, Michelle Phillips, Deke Naaktgeboren, Aaron Peck, Sébastien Dos Santos Borges and Brenda Mackey.
The 100-mile race runs from Whitehorse to Braeburn, beginning at Shipyards Park on Feb. 19. Mushers will travel up the River Yukon, then Takhini before traversing the Old Dawson Overland Trail for 70 miles.
As of 7 p.m. on Feb. 19 it was Le Levier in the lead on the 100-mile, followed closely by Hamlyn. Among the long race teams, Peck and McMahon were neck-and-neck 30-miles into the race.
The short race will return around at Braeburn, while the 300-mile race will carry on to Mandanna Lake south of Carmacks before turning back to finish in Whitehorse.
A purse of $5,000 is set aside for mushers in the 100-mile race with prizes paid out to the fifth-place finisher and better. The $35,000 purse for the 300 mile pays the top 10 finishers.
Fans will be able to witness the start at Shipyards park beginning around 3 p.m. for the long race start.
On the Alaska side of the border, 200- and 350-mile races departed Fairbanks on Feb. 5.
Just over two days later, three-time Quest winner Sass was the first to cross the finish line. He was followed by Matt Hall, then Deke Naaktgeboren and Jennifer Labar. Sass and Naaktgeboren are returning to compete in the eastern races this week.