Michelle Phillips is no rookie when it comes to racing sled dogs. She has run the challenging Yukon Quest 5 times. In 2008 she finished in 4th place. This demonstrates that racing sled dogs is a sport where men and women compete equally. She has also been awarded the “Rookie of the Year” in both the Percy DeWolfe and the Copper Basin races.
Michelle resides in Tagish, Yukon Territory, Canada. She and her partner, Ed Hopkins, own and operate Pristine Wilderness Tours. You can visit their website at: www.yukonhuskies.com. They have a son, Keegan. The family has a 55 dog kennel of Alaskan huskies. Michelle learned to race from Ed.
Ed is an accomplished racer himself. He has been running dogs for 22 years.
In her spare time Michelle likes to read books on a variety of subjects. One of her favorite topics is aromatherapy.
When asked why she likes to race Michelle stated, “I love spending time with the dogs and enjoying the countryside.” Michelle said that she is ready to see new trails and seek new challenges. She thinks that in the Iditarod that the coastline will present its own set of challenges. She is also looking forward to the Dazell Gorge and the Happy Steps.
Michelle is planning to take “feelie hearts” with her on the Iditarod race. Last year on the Quest she did a fundraiser for Hospice Yukon. Michelle said, “Feelie hearts began with a grieving four year old girl whose mother had died. She was given a small, stuffed fabric heart to carry with her, understanding the soft heart neatly tucked in her pocket was proof of her mother’s existence and love for her. It gave her permission to remember and grieve her loss which was far too vast for words alone. The Feelie Heart story has traveled to Hospices around the world, comforting dying people and those who love them.”
We will be looking for good things to come from this adventurous lady. Good luck, Michelle!
* Joy Davis is an educator in Indiana. The Educational Journalists are teachers working with Iditarod’s Education Department to bring the stories behind the scenes to race fans of all ages.