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Witkop running first distance 16-dog race this week in Alaska

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FORT COVINGTON - Jake Witkop recently spoke to the sixth-grade classes at Salmon River Central School about dog sledding in Alaska.

After graduating from Cornell, Jake followed his dream - dog sledding. Jake became a sled dog handler for Betcha Ketcha Kennel in Michigan and in Willow, Alaska. When he wasn’t handling for the Cheziks, he handled for many other mushers.

Jake also raced sprint dogs for kennels that wanted the dogs to have race experience. He ran the Limited North America Classic in the 4 dog class with mushers from 14 other countries. This sprint race is a three-day race, where they run a fast 4.8-6.2 miles per day.

Jake now lives in Fairbanks, Alaska, where he busy racing, working at a canine nutrition research facility and attending classes to earn a Ph.D. in Canine Nutrition. Jake works for and is being mentored by Dr. Arleigh Reynolds, world-renown expert in Canine Nutrition and a champion Sprint musher.

Jake will run his first distance (300 mile) 16-dog race on Friday. The Northern Lights race is qualifying race for the Iditarod.

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