Summer of 2019
This summer we have a lot of projects in the works. Here’s a few:
- Get the ATAO homestead / kennel more streamlined and ready for a competitive race season. Including building new houses for each dog, and maybe building a circular driveway, and some fenced in areas???
- Mari and Shawn get hitched!
- Mari runs some footraces… More on that soon!
- Get a few more members of the team… Big and… very very smol 😀
2019 / 2020 Racing Season
This race season we are excited to be aiming for two races. Hours after finishing the Copper Basin, my two handlers more or less strong armed me into agreeing to do it again in 2020. Okay, fine. This year, we’ll be doing minimum rest and aiming for the top 20.
Also on the race roster will be the Yukon Quest 300. It’s probably the toughest other 300 mile race out there. It includes some monster climbs and difficult terrain. The ATAO crew is ready for the challenge.
Want to support our season?
5 Year Plan
Our main focus and goal is Iditarod and Yukon Quest in the next 5 years. But to get there, we have some things to do on the way.
Year One (2017/2018)
First things first… Puppies! We started ATAO small and worked from the ground up. All star matriarch Hooch and good friend Bonnie helped train the first passel of pups. You can meet the Star Wars Pups or the Outlaws— our first two groups of puppies– by following the links!
Our first winter was about raising pups to be happy, healthy members of ATAO, building the kennel up, and laying the groundwork for the goals ahead. It included a lot of puppy walks, socialization, and one on one work with the little monsters.
We have to give a huge shout out of thanks to the group of people who laid the groundwork for our seminal season: The Founding Members. Thank you to everyone who pitched in to make our first year a success!
Years Two through Five (2018-2022)
Part of the journey (and the fun!) is officially qualifying, which includes 750 miles of races (with at least two 300-mile races). There are only a select few races that are official Iditarod qualifiers, which include races such as:
- Copper Basin 300 – January
- Northern Lights 300 – January (unfortunately this race no longer runs!)
- The Yukon Quest 300 – February
- The Kobuk 440 – April
- The Yukon Quest – February
- The Iditarod – March
I made myself a promise that before I ran Iditarod I’d run a marathon. Part of my personal preparation for Iditarod will include the Equinox Marathon in Fairbanks. As an “Athlete Ambassador” for Active Soles Performance Footware, I also have a goal of running 1,000 miles in one year.
Activity is key to maintain good mental health. I also think it’s essential for today’s mushers to be in top physical form. One of my favorite ways to stay in shape, test myself, and push my limits is through boxing. I learned to box at Mark’s Boxing Gym in Wasilla. Even though I’ll be in Fairbanks for the next few years, I’ll carry on with the boxing routine Mark taught me. I may even see if I’m able to participate in some amateur tournaments coming up.
You can follow updates about my running and boxing on my blog ATAO Adventure, which is about coping with depression through adventure and activity.