Haliburton musher going to junior Iditarod
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | Nov. 24, 2016
Logan DeBruin was 10 when he got his first taste of “The Last Great Race on Earth.”
He and brother Dustyn drove across Canada to Alaska with dad Hank, Uncle Ward and a truckload of Siberian Huskies for Hank’s inaugural 2010 Iditarod. He would return in 2012.
“I remember watching dad start those races and dreaming of the adventures he would have and being jealous that I couldn’t go with him,” Logan, now 17, says.
But the Haliburton Highlands Secondary School Gr. 12 student is training to make his own dreams come true. He will compete in the Junior Iditarod in 2017.
Logan told the Highlander his parents have had a “massive” impact on his decision to take up the sport. Dad Hank DeBruin and mom Tanya McCreedy got hooked on the sport and distance racing and started Winterdance, a Haliburton-based company that offers dogsledding tours.
Since 17 is the cut-off age for the junior Iditarod, Logan and his family decided he should run this coming February and he feels he is ready.
Since the age of three, he’s run teams in the Haliburton Highlands Dogsled Derby that Winterdance organizes every year. Two years ago, Dustyn, Hank and Logan ran a 25-mile race in Bancroft. Last year, he trained the Yukon Quest team with Hank before Hank went to Alaska.
“So while I still have things to learn, after last year I’m confident I can deal with the trail and a powerful team of 10 dogs,” Logan said.
Taking part in the race means Logan will miss a month of school. He said his schoolmates think what he is doing is pretty cool. Cool, yes, but also hard work.
To get ready, he is training the race team of 23 dogs with Hank every morning. They began with short runs of about four miles, jumped to eight miles and by the end of October were doing 20.
“Like any athlete the dogs gradually get in better and better shape and stronger as training progresses,” Logan said. By December, they will be doing overnight runs of 60-80 miles and camping with the dogs. They also hope to do a 50-mile race in Northern Michigan before heading to the Yukon.
Logan said he is most looking forward to spending time on the trail with just his dogs and seeing the beauty of Alaska from behind a dog team as well as being on the famous Iditarod trail.
He is also eagerly anticipating meeting other teenage mushers and people along the trail.
The Junior Iditarod is a 150-mile race, running 24 hours a day with a mandatory rest for the dogs.
Logan said his personal goals are to finish the race with a happy dog team and to have fun.
He admits to being a bit nervous but says his dad is always nervous before big races.
“My biggest fear is moose, as they are a musher and dog team’s worst nightmare and running at night can make them very hard to see plus I won’t be familiar with the trail. The Alaska moose are huge compared to the Haliburton moose,” he said.
Meanwhile, Hank is beaming.
“I feel really proud of him. He will be the first kid from Canada outside of the Yukon to have competed in this race which is pretty exciting.
“I also know I’m not going to like the other side of the coin - watching a GPS tracker to see where he is and worry about him, as capable as he is. Despite the hours required, the cold, and being nervous he isn’t letting that stand in his way of his goal.”
LISA GERVAIS is the editor for The Highlander.