Yukon Quest to host YQ300 as they gain financial ground

Published: Aug. 18, 2020 at 7:41 PM AKDT
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The Alaska Board of Directors for the Yukon Quest announced the YQ300 will begin on February 13, 2021, after months of uncertainty surrounding the race. Due to the closure of the Alaska-Canada border, the Yukon Quest will not be able to host the traditional 1,000-mile international race as in years past. Instead, they will run two separate races; the YQ300 in Alaska and another race in Canada, which is still being worked out.

“At this point, it feels like a pretty large success, because we weren’t sure,” said new Executive Director of the Yukon Quest Georganne Brainard of the YQ300. “We are used to having 100,000 tourists dropped at our doorstep. All our tourism is gone, all of our sponsors are affected by that, all of the people that normally donate to us are affected by the lack of tourism in this town. So it was not a given, it was not a given.”

The YQ300 will follow the standard route as in years past, tracking the first 300 miles of the traditional 1,000-mile race. It will begin at 11 a.m. in Fairbanks and will conclude in Central. Dave Turner was last year’s YQ300 winner, completing the race in 54 hours and seven minutes.

At a Quest meeting in late May, the board announced they were $150,000 in debt and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic did not help their financial situation. However, they are trending in the right direction according to Brainard and have been hosting fundraisers, like the Dawg Gone Canoe Race over the weekend.

“The latest financial status is that things are really tight, they’re still really tight and they are going to be tight for a while,” said Brainard. “But we are recovering, we are making headway. That little bit of progress we are making gives me hope for the future. We are going to survive, at this point we know that. One way or another we are going to pull this off.”

Brainard took over as the Quest’s executive director after Marty Steury stepped down from the position in May. She has been involved with the Yukon Quest for over a decade, starting as a cook at the Mile 101 checkpoint.

“I have loved the Quest since I moved here 16 years ago,” said Brainard. “It is Alaskan, it is an epic, iconic, Alaskan thing, so I have just been in love with it ever since I found out about it. For me to be in this position at this point in time, it is really special, it means a lot to me.”

Musher sign up for the Yukon Quest 300 is scheduled for October 3 at a location to be determined.

Copyright 2020 KTVF. All rights reserved.

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