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Brule musher takes part in Junior Iditarod this weekend

Feb 24, 2018 08:49AM ● Published by Editor

Talia Martens, 17, of Brule spends time with one of her sled dogs, Keisha, last month at the family farm. Martens and her team will race in the Junior Iditarod starting today. (Maria Lockwood / Superior Telegram)

By Maria Lockwood of The Duluth News Tribune on February 23, 2018

She's run her dogs with some of the best in the sport and competed in two Alaska sled dog races. Now, Talia Martens of Brule is poised to tackle the Junior Iditarod. Running the race has been her dream, and this weekend it becomes a reality.

The Junior Iditarod begins Saturday morning in Wasilla, Alaska, and wraps up with an awards banquet on Sunday night in Willow. To follow the progress of Talia and her team online, visit www.jriditarod.com and click on the GPS Tracker tab. Or keep tabs through her website, www.taliasteam.com or the Talia's Team Facebook page.

Talia, 17, is one of 11 young dogsledding enthusiasts competing in the event, which takes place a week before the Iditarod itself.

Martens and her team left Brule on Jan. 5 with the backing of family, friends and the community. Signs at the Brule Cenex and Twin Gables Cafe wished her luck. Her father and uncle drove the team 3,100 miles to Willow.

Friends and family members have been visiting her in Alaska over the past month as she's trained and raced. Donna Smith and her fourth-graders at Solon Springs Elementary sent Martens cards for Valentine's Day.

"Have a safe trip," wrote one student. "Good luck."

"The fourth grade class here at Solon Springs Elementary has been tracking your progress," Smith wrote. "We are so proud of what you and your team have accomplished."

The Brule musher placed fifth in the Tustumena 100 sled-dog race through the Kenai Mountains in Alaska. Two weeks later, on Feb. 10, the team placed seventh in the 115-mile Willow Junior 100 race.

Martens also volunteered to man a trail/highway intersection during the Willow 300 sled dog race Feb. 8.

The Junior Iditarod is Martens' last scheduled race before she packs up the team and travels home to Brule, and back to classes at Northwestern High School.

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