Alton teen completes 150-mile Jr. Iditarod sled dog race in AlaskaBy JOHN KOZIOL
Sunday News Correspondent
March 04. 2018 12:51AM
ALTON - She didn't win, but a Lakes Region teen made history and made New Hampshire proud as the first Granite Stater to participate in and finish the 150-mile Junior Iditarod, one of the premier sled dog races for young people in the world.
Lara Renner finished 10th of 11 mushers in 20 hours, 39 minutes, 17 seconds in the 41st annual race, run Feb. 24 and 25 from Wasilla, Alaska to Yentna Station Roadhouse and back.
The race, which is a partner of the 1,000-plus mile Iditarod, is open to boys and girls between 14 and 17 years old.
Renner, 15, who has been mushing since she was 10, drove with her dad, Steve, from Alton to Alaska, bringing 12 Siberian huskies.
"The race was really tough," Renner wrote March 2.
"Not only were we competing against teams that live here and were trained by professional mushers, we were also competing against the weather. It had snowed a foot two days before the race, and another five inches the night before. The conditions were super slow, which made it a tough race for both the musher and the dogs. My goal was to average 9 miles per hour, and my team and I ended up averaging 7.5 miles per hour."
Despite the challenges, Renner was thrilled she met one goal: "I finished with all ten happy and healthy dogs that I started with. ... My dogs continue to amaze me, and I am always so proud of them and their accomplishments."
She said it was "so cool to see the New Hampshire flag hanging from the starting and finishing banner and I was proud to represent this great state in the Junior Iditarod this year."
Renner said she may compete in the 2019 Junior Iditarod if she can raise enough money to cover the cost of gasoline for the more than 10,000-mile round trip.
She also is considering another long-distance race in 2019, the UP200 in Michigan, a qualifier for the Iditarod.