The Nome 40/10 Hal Bartko Memorial Race is set for Sunday, March 5. Mushers will embark from the starting line at Knik Lake at 10:30 a.m.
Race organizer Doug Bartko said the trail conditions look good for this year's race. He noted that this will be the first year they're implementing GPS tracking to follow the mushers' progress.
"I think it's way cool," Bartko said.
The race route is a 40-mile round trip down the Iditarod Trail to the Nome sign and back to Knik. Bartko said that front runners typically return within about three hours.
"They're flying out here," Bartko said with a laugh.
According to Bartko, the Nome 40/10 is one of the last races of the mushing season. He said that he plans to continue holding the race with the community each year to honor his father Hal Bartko and facilitate a gathering where everyone can share their mutual love of the lifestyle.
Bartko said that preserving the old Iditarod trail is another major motivation for keeping this tradition alive.
"It's important to keep that trail open," Bartko said.
Bartko said the trail is widely used by local mushers and makes for excellent practice.
"It's kind of the superhighway for local mushers,"
The trail isn't just used by mushers. Bartko said it's a popular destination throughout the year- whether it's for mushing, snowmachining, 4-wheeling, or hiking. He said that community members from all walks of life regularly take time out of their day to maintain it. He said all the work is worth it every time someone has the chance to take in the view along the trail.
"It's beautiful," Bartko said. "You can see all the mountains going across the lake."