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I love to race sled dogs, and I enjoy every race I enter, and I’m grateful these races exist, since they’re typically run by a small group of volunteers who get nothing much in return for long hours of setting up trail, getting permits, raising money (most of which goes to mushers) and generally dealing with checkpoints, and such. I like ’em all. But one of my favorite races is the Kuskokwim 300, which consistently goes out of its way to stake the best possible trail, is enthusiastic and hospitable as well as challenging and competitive.

Well, some hard times have fallen in Bethel, where the Kusko is suddenly short $30,000.

The race (actually three races in one: The Akiak Dash, Bogus Creek 150 and K300) typically raises tons of money and has the highest purse for a race its size. But an atypical error led to the shortfall (I don’t know what happened, and it is being investigated).

The race responded with a characteristically creative notion: It’s selling itself off, sort of. You can “own” a mile of the Kuskokwim 300 for $100. If the race gets 300 people to buy in, they’ve got their $30,000 back. It’s a cool idea, and I hope it works.

I just put a check in the mail to purchase mile 76.

It’s a place that I like just a little beyond the Bogus Creek camp, where I historically pull over and rest the dogs for two hours. Very few others do this; most go 100 miles before bedding their dogs down at Kalskag. I’ve had some good experiences by resting early, and some strong finishes. But the tactic isn’t a winning move, as I found out the last time I ran it in 2007. If I make it back there next year, I’ll likely race a more traditional strategy; but no doubt I’ll be smiling and looking at my old familiar camp site, which has become a place I truly look forward to seeing each year.

If you want to buy a mile of your own, call Myron Angstman at 907-543-2972 or stop by Angstman Law Office (if you happen to be in Bethel, Alaska). Go to the K300 website, here, for more details.

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