Difficult uphill terrain on the third day does not slow down the Igloolik mushers


Day three of the Nunavut Quest race was a steep climb, both for the dogs pulling the sleds and mushers and the snowmobiles accompanying the racers.

“There will be a lot of climbing today,” said Charlie Inuarak, the senior guide. “It will be rocky, you have to be careful.”

Conditions were a bit unfavorable, but everyone wanted to carry on.

The elders said words of encouragement: There will be difficulties, speak to the leaders and others so that we can talk about it and be happy.

Thursday was the third day of the Nunavut Quest, an annual dog sled race from Arctic Bay to Pond Inlet. Ten mushers set out on Tuesday, competing for $54,500 in prize money, including a $20,000 first-place prize.

Daniel Inuarak works on his racing gear at the end of the third day of racing at the Nunavut Quest on Thursday. Inuarak is one of ten mushers taking part in the 250-kilometer dog sled race from Arctic Bay to Pond Inlet (Photo by Shanshan Tian, ​​​​special to Nunatsiaq News)

The plan was to cover 80 kilometers on Thursday. Due to the expected difficult route, it was decided that the riders would leave two hours before the mushers in case there were any major delays.

The total height difference on Thursday was 368 meters.

Alex Ootoowak, one of the race directors, warned the group that the machines were being pushed to their limits. At the top of the big climb his statement proved true.

A few machines overturned, but everyone was safe.

At the top of the big climb, mechanics, young men and teenagers eager to learn and help were working on the machines in need of repair. At the end of the day everything was fine. If it was hard on the machines, it must have been hard on the dogs too.

At the checkpoint the top mushers stood neck and neck. It was a close race. The dogs and mushers came in with big smiles, despite the difficult mountainous terrain they traveled that day.

The Inuit sled dogs from these regions are built for this type of terrain. Nunavut Quest rules state that all dogs must be Inuit sled dogs, with “the Inuit dog being known to be a working dog and not a sprinter.”

However, the island and the area of ​​Iglulik is very flat. That doesn't seem to slow down the two Igloolik mushers, who took first and third place in today's order.

The distance covered on the third day was 47 kilometers and it took the riders four hours to reach Camp 3 in Pingualuk Ungataa.

Order of arrival on day 3:

  1. Nanuraq Uttak (#9)
  2. Apak Taqtu (#11)
  3. Qiliqti Ivalu (#3)
  4. Tom Naqitarvik (#8)
  5. David Oyukuluk (#1)
  6. Lee Inuarak (#2)
  7. Jeremy Koonoo (#7)
  8. Daniel Inuarak (#5)
  9. Donovan Qaunaq (#4)
  10. Owen Javorenko (#10)

This article and accompanying images are the result of a partnership between Nunatsiaq News and Igloolik youth participating in the Nunavut Quest Field Course, a project sponsored by QIA and the Ilagiiktunut Fund.