RACE COVERAGE

Whitney McLaren Photography is offering race coverage to mushers! We love following your race as much as you love running it (we have a love/hate relationship too—we know you know what we’re talking about!)

Mushers and fans can reserve race coverage now for the 2024-2025 Season.

Just a few races I plan to attend: ACE, TRDMA Solstice, Knik 200, Copper Basin 300, Yukon Quest Alaska, Junior Iditarod , Iditarod, T-dog, Kobuk 440, Sprint races: JRONAC, limited ADMA races, hopefully Open and Limited North American again.

If you are attending a race that isn’t on my list let me know, I may be able to make it!


Race Galleries

2024 Copper Basin 300

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2024 Knik 200

Year two for me covering the Knik 200 and I was able to explore some new spots, reuse some old photo spots and enjoy a little more sunlight than what I see at the interior races around this time. The real golden light shines through in some of these photos and though I missed the K100 where Emily Robinson dominated, I was able to witness her finish a few minutes ahead of Brent Sass. An hour or so before their finish I captured Brent working hard crossing a lake with Emily just nine minutes behind. She made moves and caught him by the finish.
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2023 ADMA Preliminary

December 17th ADMA Preliminary. Races happen often at the Alaska Dog Mushers Association and lead up to the bigger races like the Limited North American, the Open North American as well as the Gold Run and North Pole Championships among others. On this day the Junior Dog Mushers were also in attendance so I was able to capture bigger teams and one dog junior mushers! Check out some of the future mushers out there!
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2023 TRDMA Solstice

This is a fun close to home race that has a few classes, 50 mile, 20 mile, skijor and bikjor. Mushers leave from the local Pleasant Valley Store and travel well used local trails. I have become increasing more involved in the local association (TRDMA) and was able to play two roles for this race and though I have seen many parts of the trail, I was able to work with other association members and mark most of the trail for this race then doubled as a snowmachine support for the day as well. This race is over so fast and has no trackers, so its all about finding the mushers somewhere on the trail with hopes of good light.
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2023 ACE

This race is such a great season opener and always reminds me of all the photo and winter gear that I need to have available when I chase mushers for races. This race leaves the parking lot at the end of a maintained highway and as we depart if you don’t have it on you then you’re mostly out of luck. Teams leave the parking lot anywhere from 7 am to 10 am and have to report their departure time to the Alpine Creek Lodge. There are a few ways to the lodge, a tracked vehicle, dog team, fixed wing or snowmachine. I use a snowmachine, I thought I was ahead of all the mushers and when I left the parking lot but quickly found out that there was one musher way ahead of me. Emily Robinson.–I chased her the rest of the race to catch up and then also capture as many of the other mushers as possible. She’s one to keep an eye on if you haven’t already figured that out.
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2023 Kobuk 440

The first time I covered this race, the weather was so bad that the race route had to be changed midway through the race. Im headed back for a second attempt to see all the trail! Stay tuned for photos from the Kobuk 440 this race starts April 6th and the first winners are expected back in Kotzebue on the 9th or 10th. Follow them on trackleaders.com!
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2023 Valley Fun-ale

A race that has not been hosted in a few years is making its comeback! The Two Rivers Dog Mushers Association Valley Fun-ale was a two day event over April Fools weekend, complete with a costume contest, hungry dog contest and races on both days of the event. Nearly 30 kids showed up for the 1/4 mile loop where they were able to try their hand at mushing with dogs lent by local mushers. But dont forget to check out the adults in the 10, 20 mile or skijor races as well as the hungry dog contest.
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2023 The T-Dog Alaska

This was the first time this race was ever ran. There were 10 slots available for the 110 mile loop with various other slots open for just legs of the race which could be mushed as a skijor, bikjor or dog team. The route started in the Goldstream Valley at Gold stream sports and ventured through Goldstream before hitting the Dunbar Trail to then continue on to Nenana. Teams rested for 4 hours then hit the Tannan River trail for the final leg that led back to Trail Breaker Kennel.
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2023 Limited North American

Its been a few years since it has worked out for me to photograph the LNAC, conflicting with the Iditarod the last few years, and I used to help with the live broadcast before that. Great to get out and see who is still in the game and who is new to the field. I was able to do starts and finishes for day 1 and get some trail shots for day 2.
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2023 Iditarod

I don’t typically make the Ceremonial Start, however, I made it down to the Iditarod restart and found myself in Nome for a few of the finishes. Thirty-three teams left the start line of the 501st running of the Iditarod. The restart was a bluebird day and I started with photos on the Susitna with Denali in the background then made my way down river to the intersection with the Yentna River and a few miles up that river photographing teams along the way until the light was gone. Be sure to check all the way through the gallery, there are pictures of every musher that left the start chute.
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2023 North Pole Championship (day 1)

The North Pole Championships were first run in 1976 and were the highlight of the North Pole Winter Carnival for years! the route and many of those involved have changed since then, but major efforts made it so that the race could happen at the Buzz Ottis Race grounds just like the Junior North American. There is a slight overlap of this race and the Junior North American so I am able to cover day 1 before I head to the Iditarod Restart each year.
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2023 Jr North American Championships

Year after year it is so fun watching these kids improve their times and grow in each of their competitive fields. This race is hosted at the Buzz Ottis Race grounds in North Pole Alaska and its so fun to see all those involved year after year that make this awesome event happen for these kids. Also so many mushing greats and the future of mushing unfolding.
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2023 Junior Iditarod

Though this is my second year photographing the race it was still like a brand new race because last year was on the Denali Highway out of Cantwell. It is so awesome to see all the work and support come to fruition for these kids. Each walk away with an awesome scholarship and amazing bucket of mushing goodies regardless of their placing all thanks to the hard work of the volunteers and the generosity of the race sponsors. Kids get to experience a true checkpoint and see what it could be like at a distance race. It is also such a humbling opportunity to see and work with some of the mushing greats that put on this race as well as witness the beginning of the future of mushing.
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2023 ADMA Gold Run

The distance mushing schedule doesn’t always allow much room for ADMA races, but the timing for this one worked out this year. Check out some of the awesome purple outfits some of these mushers are sporting. Not only is there a prize for fastest team, there is a prize for best dressed!
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2023 Yukon Quest

The Yukon Quest! This is my 10th year of photographing this race, but it is the first year with 3 individual races to make up Yukon Quest Alaska. A 550 mile race, 300 mile race and 80 mile fun run. This made for about 40 contestants to keep track of for the first 48 hours. With the help of Kalyn Holl and Julia Redington all three races were covered. Here are my shots, but if you don’t see photos of you, be sure to check their galleries too!
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2023 CB300

Known for its brutal cold temps, this may have been the warmest yet! The weather was beautiful and the conditions were perfect. Twenty-five mushers left the startling after bib #1, honorary Lance Mackey. The teams maintained an awesome pace and were all relatively close together throughout the whole race compared to previous years.
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2023 Knik 200

Created to honor of the Father of the Iditarod Joe Redington Sr. This 200-mile competitive race is a valuable training opportunity and presents its own challenges each year. Last minute changes altered the trail and mushers ended up doing the same 100 mile loop twice with their start, midpoint and finish all at the Knik Lake. The trails were fast, the weather was beautiful and the teams conquered 200 miles in no time.
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2022 TRDMA Solstice

As a resident of Two Rivers Alaska, this race is just out my front door and on local trails. Its been a few years since the association has hosted this race but it was a great race to be a part of and hopefully the restart of more to come! Awesome to see so many in attendance and three different races with youth and adults.
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2022 Alpine Creek Excursion

This is an awesome season opener. It might not be the first race of the season but its one of the first and always a blast. Located on the Denali Highway out of Cantwell Alaska. This is a 60ish mile race that starts at a parking lot and ends at the infamous Alpine Creek Lodge, easily accessed during the summer months by various vehicles but only accessed by snow machine, aircraft or a dog team in the Winter. I follow this race on a snow machine and capture as many teams as possible. Here’s who I captured this year.
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2022 Iditarod

Though I missed the Ceremonial Start, I made it down to the Iditarod restart. Forty-nine teams left the start line of the 50th running of the Iditarod. The restart was a bluebird day, but the only real thing that is constant about the trail is change and a lot can happen in 1000 miles.
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2022 Jr Open North American

Kids from as young as 4 up to 17 years old run in this 3 day sprint race. Day 1 mushers leave in bib draw order, day two, they leave based on day one finish results, and day two they leave in reverse order with the slowest teams starting first often resulting in many passes on the trail. Trails were hard and fast this year with temperatures above 30 degrees at times. Be sure to look back further in the archives, this is the 4th year I have covered this race! Be sure to check back after Saturday to see all of the race photos.
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2022 Jr Iditarod

Fifteen mushers set off on the Denali Highway for two 64 mile loops that made up Jr. Iditarod XLV. Mushers ages range from 14-17 and from all over Alaska including two teams that had to fly from Kotzebue as well as a musher from North Dakota! The temps were warm and with awesome snow conditions the trails were hard and fast! The race was set up as a two day race and combined run times from both days determined the winner. Teams finished all within 2 1/2 hours of each other on both days and SIX SECONDS separated the champion from second place. Huge thanks is owed to the trail breaking crew (visiting and local) for maintaining an awesome trail and working hard to keep the moose at bay so all these teams could have a safe race.
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2022 Willow

Lots of trail coverage this year for the 300 and 150! Considering the weather the weeks before, the weather for the race was phenomenal and the trails were fast! Congratulations to all the teams!
Whitney’s Gallery

2022 Copper Basin 300

This was my fourth time covering this race and though it still had the 40 below start and reached cooler temperatures in the first nights the temperatures warmed up and even provided a touch of snow. This is one of the coldest races and provides some of the toughest 300 miles for mushers to travel.
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2021 ACE

67 miles down the Denali Highway to the Alpine Creek Lodge only accessible to dog teams and snow machines in the winter.
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2021 Kobuk 440

This was my first time covering this race and it was a challenge in many aspects for mushers, trail breakers, officials and volunteers. The weather didn’t want to cooperate, 30 minutes before the official start time it was 8 below with a windchill of 34 below with less than a mile (if that) of visibility. This race is often a beautiful spring event, but in 2021 it proved why it has been titled “The toughest race above the Arctic Circle.”
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2021 Iditarod

Thanks to Rock on Racing, I was able to get to a spot just a few miles out the trail for the day of the start. Mushers were still just starting their race, but it was a beautiful day and we were able to see all the mushers pass us by.
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2021 North Pole Championships

Teaming up with Nathanael Hardy, together we were able to each cover a day of the race of the North Pole Championships.
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2021 Junior Open North American Championships

Taking photos of the future of sprint and distance mushers is so fun! Check out all these kids, serious and not so serious having a great time out on the runners.
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2021 Two Rivers 100/200

Teaming up with Cross Fox Photography for a second season, we offered race coverage to mushers! We love following the race as much mushers love running it (we have a love/hate relationship too—if you’re a musher or fan, you know you know what I’m talking about!). *Full Gallery to be complete within a week of the race finish.
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2021 Summit Quest 300

Teaming up with Cross Fox Photography for a second season, we offered race coverage to mushers! We love following the race as much mushers love running it (we have a love/hate relationship too—if you’re a musher or fan, you know you know what I’m talking about!). *Full Gallery to be complete within a week of the race finish.
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2021 Willow 300

Teaming up with Cross Fox Photography for a second season, we offered race coverage to mushers! We love following the race as much mushers love running it (we have a love/hate relationship too—if you’re a musher or fan, you know you know what I’m talking about!). *Full Gallery to be complete within a week of the race finish.
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2021 Copper Basin 300

Teaming up with Cross Fox Photography for a second season, we offered race coverage to mushers! We love following the race as much mushers love running it (we have a love/hate relationship too—if you’re a musher or fan, you know you know what I’m talking about!). *Full Gallery to be complete within a week of the race finish.
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2020 Two Rivers Solstice 50/100

This was my second time following and helping with this race. The weather was beautiful, the dogs and mushers were excited to kick off their season and the trails were not holding them back because boy were their runs fast!
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2020 Iditarod

This is the race. The race that mushers strive to run, that they dream to run once they know about it. The nascar of sled dog racing. I can almost say the same about photographing it. This year I followed one musher but took photos of other teams as well. I didn’t get to go to all the checkpoints but it was a blast to go to the ones that I did.
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2020 Jr North American Championships

One of the final races of some of these kids seasons. I have been able to watch some of these kids grow into their own as they return year after year to run this race. Its so awesome getting to witness the future of mushing hit the trails-even though some of them are holding on as tight as they can!
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2020 Yukon Quest

For the seventh year I was fortunate enough to follow the Yukon Quest as one of the official photographers. The field was much smaller this year but the temperatures weren’t as cold as previous years, both of which added their own challenges to covering the race. This link has photos from other official photographers as well, check them out!
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2019 Two Rivers 100/ 200

Though the Two Rivers 100/ 200 did not follow the Yukon Quest trail exactly, it was so nice to get to see parts of the trail, and the Two Rivers checkpoint in the DAYLIGHT.
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2019 Yukon Quest

The race has its own challenges when it comes to logistics and weather, but the organizers, volunteers, mushers, and dogs are what makes this race great. No matter where you sit in the line up, each person embarks on their own Quest.
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Mushers and fans can reserve race coverage now for the 2021-2022 Season

ACE, Copper Basin 300, TRDMA, Willow 300, Yukon Quest, Iditarod, Kuskokwim 300, Two Rivers 100/200 Kobuk 440