Yukon Quest 2020 start

Cody Strathe highfives one his support team as he zooms away from the start line. ALISTAIR GARDINER / NEWS MINER

Yukon Quest International, which has been beset by financial difficulties on top of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Wednesday that it plans to hold two separate races in 2021: one in Alaska and one in the Yukon.

"We're working hard to find solutions for our financial situation," according to Dave Dalton, president of the Alaska Board of Directors in a news release. "We've weighed what we can feasibly commit to for the 2021 race season and have determined that it makes the most sense to scale back this year and focus our efforts and resources on a shorter race in Alaska."

One of the effects of the pandemic is the uncertainty regarding border restrictions between Alaska and Canada and the logistics to put on a race, officials said.

"We're not the only organization to feel the impacts of COVID-19," said Bev Regier, president of the Yukon Board of Directors. "Not only has this provided uncertainty regarding necessary logistics for the 1,000-mile race, but we also acknowledge that a number of sponsors have also been impacted and may not be able to support the race in 2021 the same way they have been able to do in past years."

Both boards are in the beginning stages of planning their respective races, according to the news release. Race distances, trail details and additional logistics will be released as they become available.

Sign up day has been postponed to September 2020.

Contact staff writer Julie Stricker at 459-7532.