PROFILE — Ontario teen leads sled dog team to historic finish
Second place finish was highest ever by a Canadian
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Thunder Bay, Ont.
At first, Julia competed for Canada using a two-dog team. Now she’s bumped up to a pack of 10 dogs led by Earhart, left, and Ghost, right. (Jeff Schultz/SchultzPhoto.com)
Claim to fame
Ever heard of mushing? It’s the art of driving a dog sled team.
And Julia Cross is good at mushing. Really good at it.
On Feb. 24, she crossed the finish line in second place during the annual Jr. Iditarod sled dog race in Alaska.
Julia was the fourth Canadian to compete in the event, which has been running for 42 years.
And she had the highest-place finish of any Canadian — ever.
"I kept looking back the whole time, expecting to see a dog team, because there were some pretty awesome dog teams. And I was expecting one of them to come up behind me and pass me." - Julia Cross
Julia was ahead of the pack for the whole race except the very last stretch.
In total, she spent 29 hours on the trail, including a 10-hour rest where she camped outside with her dogs.
The race is gruelling. It takes two days and runs 225 kilometres, which is almost as far as the distance between Saskatoon and Regina.
Julia, who started dogsledding when she was five years old, got so into the sport as a tween that she decorated the walls of her bedroom with photos of famous mushers. (Jarron Childs/Superior Images)