Midnight Run

Driver: Rhonda Hendry O'Hearn
Finished 20th out of 28 teams - This was the first time Rhonda competed in a point to point event

Note: L - denotes dog who ran in lead

The Trappers Special was cancelled due to lack of snow. Bob suggested that we field a team for Greenville. But with two girls still in heat, building a 10 dog team would be impossible unless Ady and Allie could run out front the entire 100 miles and of course you can't bank on something like that. So it bought us an extra week to work through the heat cycle situation and train a few different team combinations in the hopes to build a more cohesive group.

After a great hill training weekend back up to our friend's camp, we returned Sunday and officially registered Rhonda to drive a team at the Midnight Run. Since Bob ran the Beargrease last year, it is Rhonda's turn to try out a point to point event.

We started our road trip on Tuesday at noon. Drove 6 hours to NY and spent the evening at Spencer & Patty's. Wednesday morning we left at 8:30am just in time to miss a huge snowstorm that resulted in the road system from NY to Canada to be shut down. For the next 12 hours, we caravanned across ON behind Paul Huska and his handler Dwight. Dwight was funny! Every so often he would radio to us on the walkie talkie, a New York Times crossword question.

Ady was still in heat on Tuesday when we left. Rather than have her on the truck driving the boys crazy, we made the decision to leave her home with the sitter. It was a good call and worked to our advantage all week until the dogs scented out a bitch on the truck parked next to us in the staging area. On the trail, when I attempted to pass that team within the first 10+ miles of the race, Steel who was in lead at the time, balled up and would not keep up the pace. This was Steel's second time running the Midnight Run. First time was back in 2002 on Phil Ruhl's 16th place finishing 6 dog team.

After trying to pass unsuccessfully again, I swapped Raven into lead. She and Rocky led the rest of the way.

While running along Lake Superior leading into Deerton, the dogs' ears perked up and their heads turns. The UP200 fireworks display was going off back in Marquette. What a beautiful sight!! Not often you get to take in a fireworks display while on the runners!!

This year was a monumental one for the race. The decision to move to an 8 dog class drew in more drivers and a higher caliber of teams than was expected. We were pleased to have been involved and are looking forward to fielding a team again. The course was tough as you climbed through Marquette Mountain. It reminded me alot of the sidehills and tight winding trails of Sandwich Notch. With a fast moving team, you easily could have whacked a tree. Our goal for this race was to finish with all 8, finish in the money and to maintain a speed no lower than 10 miles an hour. We succeeded in achieving two of those goals and with a team containing two yearlings, we have no reason to complain!

Event schedule was crazy. Thursday: registration and pre-race banquet/bib draw. Friday: vet check, sponsor luncheon, race start. Sat: race finish, awards banquet. Sun: waited for Paul to finish the UP200 (13th place, way to go Paul!!) then drove non-stop home. By the time we pulled in the driveway Monday evening, we both felt like we needed a vacation day!!

OK, so no photos or trophy to remember the event by, but even better; the drivers got to keep their bibs!!

Many thanks to our new UP friends and fellow seppala owners (Dave, Dave and Erika) who spontaneously hosted us along the route!

The dogs: Steel, Rocky - L, Raven - L, Jello, Kona, Saint, Exxon and Cosmo

For complete race results, click here >>

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