by Phillip Manning ~ February 7th, 2017
This past weekend, thirty teams set off to compete in the first running of the Willow 300.
The race is unlike many other mid and long distance dog races by design. Mushers are allowed help from handlers, which is unusual for many races. Additionally, instead of a staggered start, the entire field set off at once. The Willow 300 hoped to draw mushers in with the rule changes and a guaranteed $15,000 purse.
Iditarod veteran Nicolas Petit was the first to finish on Sunday, with his team crossing the line shortly after 11:00 am. Travis Beals came in second, finishing just after 1:00 p.m. Beals was followed ten minutes later by third place finisher Brenda Mackey.
Iditarod veteran Karin Hendrickson finished fourteenth. Hendrickson lives in the Upper Valley and was injured two winters ago when she was hit by a car while training.
Talkeetna musher Anja Radano also finished the Willow 300, crossing the finish line early Monday morning. This is her third mid-distance race finish of the season.