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Musher Sebastian Schnuelle from Paxson, Alaska, makes his way past the Granite Tors Trailhead en route to the 2011 Yukon Quest finish line in Fairbanks on Feb. 15. He finished in second place behind Dallas Seavey of Willow, Alaska. Justin Kennedy/The Canadian Press

Organizers of the Yukon Quest are still $60,000 short in raising prize money for the annual dog sled race that takes place in less than two months.

The 29th edition of the race is set to start on Feb. 4. Mushers journey 1,600 kilometres between Whitehorse and Fairbanks, Alaska, and the race takes about 10 to 16 days, depending on weather and trail conditions.

The 2012 race begins in Fairbanks and ends in Whitehorse, and the total purse promised to the top 15 finishers is $150,000.

Sue Thomas, the race’s Canadian executive director, said sponsorship dollars are harder to come by this year, especially with Whitehorse playing host to the Arctic Winter Games in March.

Thomas said the race needs another industry or individuals to come forward with donations and government is not an option.

"We rely on the sponsorships, on the cash donations and the sponsorships to create the purse," she said. "Being a non-profit organization, it is our only way of raising money for the purse and the cost of putting on the race."

Thirty-one mushers have signed up for the 2012 race including 20 newcomers and three teams from Europe, making it the largest field since 2004.