Cool Runnings – the UP 200 Dog Sled Race

Last year I got very excited to find out there is a local dog race run in Marquette and then very sad that I wasn’t going to be in the country in time to see it.

So this year when I started seeing advertisements for the UP200 I promptly marked it on my calendar and JT and I made the journey in to Marquette to watch.

It turns out that this is not a quaint local thing, but actually one of the premier dog races in the country, which draws competitors internationally. Not really knowing anything about dog racing, I was more struck by the beauty and grace of the sled teams and the wonderfully positive, community feeling of the crowds.

Another completely delightful aspect of the races is that in an area that spends winter battling to keep snow off the roads, on the day of the race, snow is trucked into the town center and the roads closed so that it can be spread into a good enough surface to race on.

The race takes place after dark and people line the streets, cheering each competitor and ringing cow bells. Lit by the lights of the newly refurbished Delft Theatre Bistro, the atmosphere was absolutely magical and not a little Narnia.  There was a mixed crowd of families, students and tourist and everyone was careful to ensure that if you had a camera or a small child, you got a chance to get to the front of the barrier to see.

JT and I started out night at one of our favorite places to eat, The Recovery Room, which serves great food and local beers and is run by a very cool, ex-parachuter turned military nurse, Patrick. They have a secret hot sauce on their wings which is completely to die for and also serve great cocktails. In between races we popped back in and I tried the new pear cider, which was lush, good cider being difficult to find in the USA.

It was a wonderful evening and I’m so glad I finally got to go.  The sleds were too fast for my photography skills, but I was able to capture some video.

Mush, mush!

I also hears that this year the event finished at Lakenland, and amazing free sculpture park that JT and I visited over the Summer, with the kids. They had a big fire and food and drink and if they do it again next year, we will definitely be there.


Cool Runnings is the hilarious 1993 Disney movie about the first ever Jamaican bobsleigh team.

2 thoughts on “Cool Runnings – the UP 200 Dog Sled Race

    1. Yes I am often struck by the genuine courtesy here, everyone seemed to be determined that it should be a fun time for all and we all made room for the kids in front, one chap gave me advice on how often the dogs would come down the run. Another moved over so I could get a good shot, as he had already shot a couple of videos. It’s one in a long line of small town courtesies that I enjoy on a regular basis here.

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