The Open North American Championship sled dog race, scheduled to celebrate its 75th anniversary this weekend, was canceled Wednesday because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The ONAC is one of the top sprint mushing events in the world and it was set to start at 1 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Jeff Studdert Racegrounds behind the Mushers Hall off Farmers Loop.
The Studdert Racegrounds also was the finish line for the race which this year would have had heats of 20 miles each Friday and Saturday and 30 miles Sunday.
"It's sad. it's the first time in 74 years it's been called off. It will be the 75th again next year,'' Shannon Erhart, a board of the Alaska Dog Mushers Association, which conducts the race, said by phone Wednesday.
She added "It was time to put it at safety (first)."
Erhart anticipated 24 to 27 mushers participating in this year's race.
Contact News-Miner sports editor Danny Martin at 459-7586. Follow him on Twitter:@newsminersports.