Annual UP200 and Midnight Run
FEBRUARY 11-15, 2021
The UP200 is one of the top 12-dog mid-distance races in the Midwest, as well as being an Iditarod qualifier. The UP200 trail covers 230 miles of challenging terrain from Marquette to Grand Marais, Michigan and back again through forested land and near-wilderness. Mushers face hills, creek crossings, deep snow, and isolated trail. This is a true test of skill and stamina! The first leg of the trail is from Marquette to Wetmore, a distance of approximately 64 miles on the upbound leg, and 60 miles on the downbound leg.
The upbound timing gate at Wetmore is at Timber Products on M-28. The teams will cross M-28 “on the clock” with the State Police available to assist with traffic. The team will proceed to the upbound checkpoint at Timber Products. This is an assisted checkpoint except for teams using the race as an Iditarod qualifier. Because the teams will arrive after midnight, spectators will not be allowed inside the upbound Wetmore checkpoint. A dog may be dropped from the team at this point and will be transported by truck to Grand Marais. The teams will leave from this area in the early morning on Saturday and re-join the trail to Grand Marais. From Timber Products, the trail winds through Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and continues on to Grand Marais, approximately 51 miles. The Grand Marais checkpoint is the midpoint of the race, and offers excellent viewing opportunities for spectators. The local Community Center is the checkpoint headquarters, and visitors can have lunch, bid on items at a silent auction, and see the teams up close. Here the mushers will rest and feed their teams, be checked over by vets, and plan their strategy for the second half of the race.
A total rest time of 16 hours is required, and the mushers decide how much rest time they will use at each checkpoint. A minimum 5-hour rest is required at the Wetmore checkpoint on the upbound leg to Grand Marais, but after that, it is up to the musher to decide when and where to take the remainder of the rest.
The return to Marquette is over the same trail. On the down-bound trail, Hiawatha Log Homes in Wetmore is the assisted checkpoint (a distance of 55 miles) and handlers may help the teams. The trail from Hiawatha Log Homes to the finish in Marquette is 60 miles. Dogs may be dropped from the team at any of the checkpoints. The UP200 ends on Sunday afternoon when the mushers cross the finish line in Marquette. This race is a test of the musher’s skill in navigating and the team’s stamina and fitness. If you’re a musher, you won’t want to miss it, and if you’re a spectator, come join the thousands of people who gather to cheer the teams out of the starting gate in Marquette! The race starts on Friday evening, February 16th, 2018 and is limited to 40 teams, so mushers are encouraged to register early.