Iditarod joins Arctic world series of mushing

Photo courtesy of skeeze/Pixabay
Photo courtesy of skeeze/Pixabay

Organizers of Alaska’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race have joined forces with three other international sled dog races, including 2020 events in Minnesota, Norway and Russia.

The QRILL Pet Arctic World Series (QPAWS) puts the Iditarod in the circuit with the John Beargrease in Minnesota, Femundlopet in Norway and the Volga Question in Russia.

The 2020 Iditarod begins with the ceremonial start in Anchorage on March 7. So far 45 mushers are signed up, including four Canadians, two Norwegians, one Italian and one Danish musher.

QPAWS is the result of the commitment of Aker BioMarine, of Houston Texas, to long-term investment in dog mushing, according to Matts Johansen, chief executive officer of the firm.

Johansen said that Aker BioMarine has been working for the past three years with the athletes and race organizers to learn more about the sport and its many components. Aker BioMarine bills itself as a biotech innovator and Antarctic krill-harvesting firm dedicated to improving human and planetary health.

“We strongly believe in the sport of dog mushing and the culture it represents, and we want to help it get the international attention and recognition it deserves,” Johansen said.

“With the investments in digital visualization technology and innovative television production, we have great confidence that we will be showcasing our sport in a more experiential and compelling way,” said Rob Urbachk chief executive officer for the Iditarod Trail Committee.

QPAWS (q-paws.com) was established as a nonprofit sports series through an initiative by Aker BioMarine, with all proceeds to go to the events and as investments in the sport of long-distance dog mushing. The series is based on a joint point system, advanced digital visualization of GPS tracking and television production and distribution.

The five-member Qrill Pet Mushing Team includes; Iditarod and Yukon Quest champion Dallas Seavey of Willow; Hanna Lyrek, of Alta, Utah; Thomas Waerner and Marit Beate Kasin of Norway, and Norwegian Joar Ulsom, of Willow, who won the Iditarod in 2018.