Eight sled dog teams are on their way in the week-long Nunavut Quest, leaving from Arctic Bay on Thursday.

The racers are two days behind schedule because organizers held the start of the race to wait for teams to make their way across the land on snowmobile to the start.

Peter Siakuluk, the mayor of Hall Beach, was that late entrant, who had to travel the farthest to compete.  

The Nunavut Quest started in 1999 and rotates its starting location through Baffin region communities. Last year it was cancelled because it was short of funding, but the year before it began in Pond Inlet. 

Mushers Arctic Bay

Mushers get ready for the Nunavut Quest to start in Arctic Bay. (Submitted by Niore Iqalukjuak)

This year, mushers will travel about 80 kilometres a day to make it from Arctic Bay to Igloolik, camping in tents each night, according to Rhoda Natanine, a fundraiser for the event. 

"We're trying to keep our tradition alive by dog teaming. They used to go from place to place in earlier years and that's what we're trying to do but in different ways."

Natanine says mushers pay $100 to enter the race, so it relies on donations to fund prizes and pay for dog food and fuel for the support snowmobiles.

Bib 5 Nunavut Quest

(Submitted by Jean-Francois Latour)

Each dog team is accompanied by two support snowmobiles with supplies.

This year's first prize is $15,000, while second and their place will receive $7,000 and $4,000 respectively.

Scroll below to see photos from the starting line. 

Dog sled dogs

(Submitted by Jean-Francois Latour)

Dog Musher

(Submitted by Jean-Francois Latour)

Isaac Irngaut Nunavut Quest

Isaac Irngaut from Igloolik was the first off the starting line. (Submitted by Niore Iqalukjuak)

Nunavut Quest Dog and Musher

(Submitted by Jean-Francois Latour)

With files from Angela Hill