Big support for overnight dog race

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The Naseby Forest is set to be transformed this Saturday as mushers and dogs from all over New Zealand arrive for the Southern Midnight Madness.
Organiser Rose Voice said it was the first time the endurance event had been held in the Maniototo, as it was always run in Taupo.
The inaugural Southern Midnight Madness is being hosted by the Otago Sled Dog Racing Association in the Naseby Forest.
The association is hoping to hold the event two-yearly with the North Island.
Mrs Voice said the association was lucky to have a good working relationship with Ernslaw One, which let them hold the race in the forest.
This year a viewing platform will be set up at the Naseby Swimming Dam so people can come and watch the races.
Mrs Voice said the first lot of mushers would leave the dam area about 2pm and others would set off individually until 6pm.
They would finish about 3am.
Mrs Voice said a large range of dog breeds would compete, not just arctic ones.
‘‘Entries are looking really good in the lead-up to the event.’’
There will be three race lengths: a long-distance 80km race, a mid 40km race and a short, introductory course that is 15km long.
‘‘But this is an endurance race; it is the biggest dry land race in the world.’’
Mushers would race with a minimum of two dog teams and a maximum of eight.
The race had received great support from other sled dog clubs and mushers throughout New Zealand, who had volunteered to help at the event, she said.
‘‘We’ve also had lots of support from the local community. They all get that the upside for them is the economic gain, but they have been absolutely generous with donating prizes and other things. They’ve been really supportive.’’
A marquee will be set up at the swimming dam for people to have a hot drink or cup of soup while watching the action.
Spectators were welcome at the dam from 1pm and it would be signposted from the Naseby Rd turn-off. No dogs are allowed at the dam.