This year’s Ivakkak dog race turned out to be quite a success, with a new winner, Charlie Watt Jr. being crowned. Watt has progressed every year since the inception of Ivakkak back in 2001. Having finished third in the inaugural year, and second last year, Watt had no-where to go but up.
Finishing in second, just over five minutes behind, was Peter Kiatainaq. This was the first time Kiatainaq participated in this race. Finishing in third was another first time racer, Willie Kulula Sr.
The most amazing of all participants had to be 61-year-old Tamusi Sivuaraapik. Having won in the inaugural race in 2001, and finishing third last year, Sivuaraapik sported a strong fifth place finish in this year’s event.
The race covers 400 miles, taking each qimutsiit (dog team) from Kangigsujuaq to Akulivik. This grueling test is done over a period of 10 days. This year’s winner finished the race with an overall time of 47 hours, 52 minutes, 33 seconds. The last place finisher, Juani Beaulne, came in at 76 hours, 5 minutes, 36 seconds. Just to finish this race is a testament to the mental strength these racers have. Not to mention the agility, speed, and focus on the part of their qimutsiit.
The winner, Charlie Watt Jr. will now be $3,500 richer, thanks to Makivik. He will also receive a brand new Honda ATV TRX 400, which is worth almost $10,000, and was given by the Federation of Co-ops in Northern Quebec (FCNQ). Watt also takes home two First Air tickets for two to Montreal, and two nights at the Dorval Travelodge.
Peter Kiatainaq, who finished in second place, takes home $2,500 of Makivik money. He will also take home Rookie of the year honors as well as a Yamaha EF2600 Generator which was provided by Pat’s Parts.
Willie Kulula Sr., this year’s third place finisher, won $1,500. He also took home a Coleman stove, and a Northern Expedition sleeping bag offered by the Northern store of Kuujjuaq. For his persistent performance, he was also granted the perserverance award.
In all, there were 11 participants. In order to participate in this race, one must be of Inuit descent. There is also a $100 entry fee, and restrictions on the type of dog used (only Inuit Husky dogs).
The racers were welcomed and treated like kings at every stop they made throughout the race. The route started at Kangiqsujuaq, and continued west to Raglan, then headed north to Salluit before proceeding to the northernmost point of the race, Ivujivik. From there it headed south to the finish line at Akulivik.
Congratulations goes out to all the participants in this years race. In a grueling race such as this year’s Ivakkak, to be able to say you’ve completed it no matter how long it took, is something to be very proud of.