- Associated Press - Saturday, November 26, 2016

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - A new 300-mile sled dog race slated for December can help qualify mushers for the Iditarod and Yukon Quest.

About 20 teams are expected to compete starting Dec. 17, depending on snowfall around Fairbanks in the next three weeks, reported the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (https://bit.ly/2gsOiOB).

At least six teams have signed up for the Tolovana 300. The event will be the first 300-mile race for four of those teams.

Mushers will start near Fox and regroup at three checkpoints before the 85-mile push to the finish line.

Both the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race and Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race list the Tolovana 300 among their qualifying events.

“It’s not so much an emphasis on who wins,” said Fox musher Ken Anderson, who is helping organize the event. “It’s my hope that teams come out of this really, really built up and just breathing fire for the next race.”

Anderson said the new race will help fill a need.

“The 300-mile (races) are kind of a premium and they’re filling up real fast,” he said.

Yukon Quest 300 ran out of slots for mushers this year in two hours, a record.

Registration costs $40.

A cash prize is unlikely for the top teams, but race sponsors may contribute products to award.

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Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, https://www.newsminer.com

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