Jack Pine 30 Race Improvement for 2019December 4, 2018
Each year we try to make the races better, and the race in 2019 is no exception. Improvements in the past have included better trail grooming and marking along with additional volunteers to help at the start, road crossings, vet checks, and other aspects of the race. This year we are making a change to the trail route, which we believe will have several positive outcomes.
The primary reason for the route change is for the safety of the mushers and their teams. The route we have used for the last several years ran along Highway M 553 for a few miles. Each year we see an increase in traffic on that highway. That in combination with less snow means less of a barrier between the trail and the highway in some spots. We wanted to make a change that would move the route away from M 553. Over the summer we scouted a few options, and ultimately selected a route with enough changes to make the move away from the highway while not completely changing the route from previous years.
Ultimately, moving away from the highway means that we would have to change the starting location from Larry’s Family Foods in Gwinn where it has been for the last several years to the First Baptist Church of Gwinn. We would be remiss if we did not thank Larry’s Family Foods for their support of the race over the years. Larry has been incredibly supportive of the Jack Pine 30, and it would not be possible to run the race without support like his.
In addition to improving the safety of the race, the change in start location should make things a bit easier for the mushers and their handlers, because they will not have to change locations between the musher meeting and the start of the race. Nor will they have to move back again after the race starts since the finish will be in the same place.
We would also like to thank the First Baptist Church and Pastor Justin for their support, and being receptive to the idea of moving the start as well. While race planning can be challenging at times, it is made considerably easier with the support of local community members, organizations, and businesses. We would not be able to do it without their help.
Additional information about the new Jack Pine 30 trail route will be posted on our web site over the next few weeks as we work through the details.