MARQUETTE - The start time for this year's Midnight Run sled dog race, which will begin in downtown Marquette on Feb. 15, has been moved to 9 p.m., in part to ensure a mid-morning finish in Munising.
The U.P. 200's 12-dog teams will begin taking to the trail along Washington Street at 6:50 p.m. that evening and the 9 p.m. start of the Midnight Run will likely come about 75 minutes after the final U.P. 200 musher has left the gate.
The decision to delay the start, according to Upper Peninsula Sled Dog Association Vice President Ron Hewson, was made at the UPSDA meeting Wednesday night. The decision, he said, was to "accomodate a daytime finish in Munising and in order to minimize interaction on the trail between the two races."
The Midnight Run - a roughly 90-mile race for eight-dog teams - and the U.P. 200 will share the same trail until near Chatham.
This year - the 24th running of the U.P. 200 - will mark the first time there has been a double downtown start, according to Hewson.
UPSDA President Pat Torreano said the organization is actively seeking additional volunteers, especially to assist with cleaning up the downtown area after 10 p.m.
Anyone interested in volunteering should call Anna Sanford at 906-942-7850.
Currently, 23 mushers, including 11 from Michigan, are signed up to participate in the Midnight Run.
Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.