Following Pete Kaiser’s historic victory in last year’s Kuskokwim 300 sled dog race, the 2019 race is shaping up to be quite the event. This marks the 40th annual running of the K300, which kicks off in less than 50 days.
So far, 19 mushers have signed up to race the 300-mile course from Bethel to Aniak and back. K300 race manager Madelene Reichard says interested mushers would be wise to sign up before the cost of registration goes up.
“We’re still hoping that there will be a few more signups. People have until December 15th, and then the entry fee goes up from $400 to $800.”
From the race committee’s last update, the list included four-time champ Pete Kaiser, 2018 Iditarod champion Joar Ulsom, and a handful of Western Alaska mushers. Richie Diehl of Aniak is set to compete in another K300 alongside Nome-ite Aaron Burmeister.
Burmeister is not the only Nome competitor in this year’s race, as Nils Hahn, a member of the Nome Kennel Club, has thrown his name into the ring. According to Reichard, this is Hahn’s first running of the K300. Registration for the 2019 K300 sled dog race will remain open until 11 more spots are filled, or until the start of the race, whichever comes first.
Compared to the 2018 race purse, there’s a little extra incentive for K300 competitors this year, as Reichard explains:
“This year, it is going to be $160,000 versus $150,000. We’re just working out how the breakdowns will go. It will still be, if we don’t have the full 25 mushers finish the race, that extra purse money will be distributed among the finishers.”
The 40th annual K300 is scheduled to begin on January 18, and Reichard says the hope is to run the traditional route this year. However, the exact race route has not yet been announced, since trail conditions are still taking shape.
Image at top: The 2011 Kuskokwim 300 start/finish line in Bethel. Photo: KNOM file.