Of the 34 mushers to leave the T200 starting line this year, 5 scratched and 29 crossed the finish line. Anna worked her way up from a 25th starting position to finish in 16th place with 13 (of 14) dogs in harness. Kristy crossed the finish line in 9th place with all 14 dogs in harness. Despite having a team of young and fairly inexperienced dogs, Kristy's canine friends ran a very strong race. They were in great shape crossing the finish line, still full of spunk and injury-free. Those factors helped earn them a competitive ranking in the finish as well as Kristy being awarded this year's Humanitarian Award!
Anna and Kristy both enjoyed this year's T200. The race is held on the Kenai Peninsula, essentially in the backyard of the twins' home kennels. This means they both enjoy a lot of familiarity with the trails, checkpoints, and weather patterns. It also eliminates the often tiring and tedious need to travel a long distance before even getting to the starting line.
Their respective dog teams were both made up of young dogs without a lot of racing experience, but they faced the challenge well. One dog on Anna's team, a yearling in his first competitive race, decided part way through the race that he'd just had enough and didn't want to pull anymore. Rather than risk an injury or let his attitude infect the rest of the team, Anna secured him in her sled basket and carried him over 20 miles to the next checkpoint. Kristy essentially enjoyed the opposite behavior from one of her young dogs. Little Bit, a 1 year old female, was given a chance to run the lead position for a while during the race. Not only did she step up to the task, she did so remarkably well, leading the team for a 50 mile stretch. Given the warm conditions, both twins kept their speed in check and a close eye on the dogs for any sign of overheating.
With 23 mushers separating them, the twins did not get an opportunity to run along the trail together. But, during the 32+ total hours on the trail, they were usually able to overlap for a short time at the checkpoints, giving them a chance share tales from the trail and give each other encouragement.
The T200 was the last mid-distance race for the twins before the Iditarod. Anna and Scott Janssen had planned to compete in the Denali Doubles the following weekend but unfortunately had to drop out before the race. The Iditarod requires EKGs and blood work on all dogs listed on a musher's team, and both Anna and Scott ended up with scheduling conflicts between these tests and the race.
Here are a few photos and a pretty cool video from the race. Enjoy!