Thursday, 26 February 2004

February 26, 2004 Press Release

For Immediate Release

Canada's Iditarod Veteran Ready to Race to Nome

Stronger, higher, faster may be the Olympic motto, but for Canada's only woman veteran of the world famous Iditarod dog sled race, these words embody her hopes for this year's grueling 1780 kilometer sled dog race from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. Karen Ramstead, 39, of Perryvale, Alberta, and her team of 16 purebred Siberian Huskies leave the starting line in Anchorage on March 6, 2004 with the goal of arriving in Nome in less than 12 days. If she's successful, she'll have set a new record for the fastest finish with a team of Siberian Huskies. The current record for a purebred Siberian Husky team is 12 days, 0 hours and 8 minutes set by an American team in 1998.

"This is the year to see what my dogs and I are really capable of. We've taken three years to fine-tune our training and race strategy, building on the experiences of our previous Iditarods. The dogs are a great mix of rookies and Iditarod veterans, and most have been with me since they were born. It's the best team I've ever worked with and we're all anxious to really race the Iditarod trail this year." said Ramstead.
Ramstead is the only Canadian woman to have finished an Iditarod and the only Canadian to do so with a team of Canadian Kennel Club registered dogs.

Her finishing time in 2001 was just under 15 days. She had hoped to go for the record in 2003 but she fell ill and had to withdraw after completing over 1300 kilometers. This is her fourth Iditarod.

During the Iditarod, Ramstead and her team will travel through some of Alaska's most beautiful and challenging wilderness, enduring temperatures that can dip below minus 50C. While on the trail, Ramstead is the sole provider for her team as race rules prevent drivers from receiving outside assistance. She is the coach, cook, medic, massage therapist, and sport psychologist for 16 highly trained endurance athletes. Together, they hope to make this year's run to Nome one for the record books.

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