ELLSWORTH, Maine — Mushers in central Maine who don’t want to wait around for snow to run dogs can participate in a fun run at 9 a.m. Saturday, starting at the head of the Sunrise Trail on Washington Junction Road.
“Anyone can come participate or watch,” Kyrie Marian, event organizer, said. “We are anticipating 11 teams with up to 22 people.”
While Marian plans on running her team of Siberian Huskies between five and eight miles, she said some mushers, including at least one in training for the 2011 Can Am Sled Dog Race in Fort Kent, intends to run a team 30 miles on Saturday.
New to the sport — Marian took her first sled dog ride last winter and was instantly hooked — the 24-year-old musher said events such as fun runs are both social and good training.
“That’s what I like about mushing,” she said. “You meet these mushers and they are all nice and it turns out everybody knows everybody else, and they are all willing to share information with each other.”
At the same time, fun runs can serve an educational purpose.
“A lot of people are interested and want to know more about it,” Marian said. “We see Saturday as a way to educate people, and we would like people to come watch and learn.”
Marian and her husband, Jonathan Macleod, have 10 dogs in their kennel, but Marian said they plan to pick up two more this weekend.
“I’m on my way to bigger things,” she said.
Both plan to race at some point, with Macleod working his way toward running the Can Am 250, the John Beargrease Marathon and the famed Iditarod in Alaska.
“This year he’s going to watch the races, [and] he’s building his team slowly,” Marian said. “I plan on racing this winter in Milo and in the Brownville fun run.”
All mushers and teams are welcome at the Saturday event, during which Marian said spectators will see a variety of dogs pulling a variety of wheeled training rigs.
“We have a little racing four-wheeler,” Marian said. “Our team is completely nuts, and sometimes I have to wonder about them but we love every single one of them.”
There is no entry fee for the Saturday fun run, and Marian said the group plans to have a group lunch at a local restaurant.