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New 300-mile sled dog race to honor late Chief Juneby

Alaska Dispatch

The Top of the World 300-Mile Sled Dog Race, announced this week, will be dedicated to the life and untimely death of Chief Isaac Juneby of Eagle Village, Alaska.

According to the official Top of the World facebook page, the 300-mile sled dog race will strive to "provide a challenging, yet fun" competition "while remembering the true spirit of dog mushing in remote Alaska," of which Juneby often spoke. The inaugural race is set to start Dec. 29, 2012, in Eagle Village, Alaska and end in Tok, Alaska, but the festivities will begin in Tok on Dec. 27th, with a fun-run style mass start followed by a potlatch and dance in Eagle.

The race was founded by defending Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race champion Hugh Neff in cooperation with the Juneby family, Wayne and Scarlette Hall and Dr. Robert Forto. The group wishes to encourage rookie mushers by providing them with a challenging opportunity to gain experience.

Seventy-year-old Chief Isaac Juneby died unexpectedly in early July when the car he was driving while visiting Anchorage was struck by an oncoming car. According to race organizers, Juneby "was a wise and humble leader, culture bearer, veteran, and huge fan of mushing" with "an incredibly kind and generous heart."

For more race information, visit its Facebook page here, and for more information on Juneby's tragic death, read Alaska Dispatch's July report, here.