Grande Prairie’s Aaron Peck is ready for his ninth Iditarod Sled Dog Race in Alaska. The long-distance race goes from Anchorage to Nome and lasts between eight and fifteen days.
Peck says he first discovered his love for sled dog racing when he was a teenager.
“I really started to develop an interest in the sport when I was 13 years old, so almost 30 years ago,” he says.
Peck says each year he participates he learns more about the competition and what it takes to win.
“I feel more and more comfortable every time I come here. You get to know the trail and become more familiar with it. All of that gives you more confidence in the race,” he says.
Peck says training for the annual race involves work and training every single day.
“The preparation for this happens all year long and even more than that because it involves raising your pups. Building confidence in the dogs is so important as they grow and mature. I really need one cohesive unit to be successful,” he says.
Peck, his team, and 20 dogs have their sights set high for the annual competition. He has improved in all of his nine years at Iditarod, placing 51st in 2000, and 14th in 2021.
“Our goal is to be right near the front. If we play our cards right, my execution is good, and the dogs respond positively we feel really good about our chances,” he says.
Being away from home is a challenge, but Peck says being around 20 dogs always helps.
“They’re such great companions and I’m never lonely when I’m with my dogs. It’s hard being away from my wife and kids. The support I have is amazing and I’m very blessed to be able to do this,” he says.
Peck is among three competitors from Canada, while other talents come from Alaska, Michigan, France, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. Iditarod was established in 1973. The competition begins on March 5th.
Note: Aaron Peck is participating in his ninth Iditarod competition, not seventh. I apologize for the error.