The second edition of the annual Ivakkak dog sled race is happening this February 4. Ivakkak means running at a comfortable speed. Most of the racers will be running beside the sleds in order to go faster.The race is helping to revive the tradition of dog sledding in the Inuit style. People are hoping that it promote the return of the pure bred Inuit Husky dogs. In fact according to Lisa Koperqualuk no other types of dogs are allowed in this race. All racers must use the traditional fan stle formation for harnessing their dogs.
The first race was “very exciting” for the Inuit people said Koperqualuk. “It’s a popular event,” she said.
Eleven teams will be participating in this grueling 400 kilometre race which ends on February 11. The ages of race team members are from 18 and 60 and come from five Nunaik communities. The race will be along the Ungave coast starting from Kuujjuaq and ending in Quartaq. At the end of the race there will be a feast and a celebration. The grand prize is $3500 and a skidoo. Other race prizes range from $500 to $2500.
Last year’s race on the Hudson Bay was from Umiujaq to Puvimituq.
Makavik Organizers say that the race provides a chance for Elders and youth to be a part of the proud tradition of dogsledding. This is an adventure for all participating. One that they will not soon forget.
The main sponsers are Air Inuit, the Federation of Northern Quebec Co-ops and Pat’s Parts.