Most mushers and their athletic companions are home by now. Although there are those that are heading to the next race, and others still who have a long drive home across Canada.
I waited a couple of days before putting up my own closure of the race. Waiting for photos and comments from mushers to appear on social network was one reason for the delay, the other, my eyes needed a break from the computer.
I really wanted to do a focus on the volunteers who helped put this race on. I know they have given up many many hours to ensure the success of this event.
From those who made the many calls looking for the sponsors, to the winter hardy who sat for countless hours on a snow machine to put trails in. There were those working on the web site, keeping it up to date, and still others answering the e-mails and messages, the 'paper' logistics of the race. Also there was the arranging of the many volunteers who in turn worked the check points, making sure there was food available, heat and even tents turned into outhouses.
Unfortunately I cannot thank each one personally as there will be many missing from this list. I was not able to be present to meet the many who led this group of men and women who gave their time. Instead I will send out one big hearty thank you that I will hope can be sent throughout the Canadian Challenge community.
Know that you helped create memories to last a lifetime for mushers, handlers and everyone else who came along for the ride. Even those that could do no more than watch those little bib numbers bounce across a screen. Thank you.
Know that all your hard work helped each musher.
Whether there was a joy in the moment of crossing the finish line first and being able to call your team a winner that year, or coming in for the red lantern and then being acknowledged with that coveted vet award for best kept team, each moment is perfect.
For the musher who as been here a few times to finally cross that finish line in second place and proudly hold the trophy she has been working the hardest for, to the musher who spent the last three years to just make it to the start and then get to actually cross the finish line.
Mushers who have been here many times who come for the love of the trail to those who have never raced before, to all of you, whether you finished the race or had to end it early, you can now walk away with new memories and yes even great accomplishments.
Until next year.
May you run under many dark nights with your best friends and the dancing Northern Lights leading the way.
|Photo Credit: Scott Knudsen, Northscape Photography|