The bond between people and their dogs is leading a few Fort McMurrayites to the top of the Canadian Challenge Sled Dog Race.
Three residents from the community placed in the top ten of the annual race over the weekend. Randy Mackenzie finished fourth, Darren Haas placed sixth and Christina Traverse ended in seventh.
“This race is probably one of the tougher ones just because of the terrain and especially this year with the lack of snow and the warmer temperatures,” said Traverse. “It actually was a tough race this year, not only for myself but for everyone that I spoke to.”
She has been in the sport since 2011, taking part in the challenge two other times. The last ended with a trip to the vet when one of her dogs got sick.
The race takes part in Northern Saskatchewan, traveling for 600 km around the same dog trails that were used by trappers, the North West Mounted Police and the First Nations community.
Though the race lasted roughly four days, this has become a year-round sport from practice runs during the winter months to just plan exercise with the dogs during the warmer temperatures.
The event is the biggest dog sled race in Canada where the entire race happens in the nation. It has also attracted other teams from the United States, Australia, Germany, Serbia and Belgium.