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Northwest Maritime Center cancels Race to Alaska, applications open for new adventure race WA360

by Northwest Maritime Center 15 Jan 08:21 PST
Deception Pass Park, Washington. Deception Pass is a strait separating Whidbey Island from Fidalgo Island, in the northwest part of the U.S. state of Washington © Northwest Maritime Center

The COVID landscape for Race to Alaska hasn't changed much from 2020, and race organizers at the Northwest Maritime Center have decided to flip the script.

They have announced the cancellation of Race to Alaska (R2AK) for 2021 because, says Race Boss Daniel Evans, "The border is still closed and the communities along the race route do not want us anywhere near their shores, and rightly so. And we have no desire to be their Grim Reaper."

In just five years of running the race, R2AK has become an international attraction, bringing racers from 14 countries and viewers, who have named themselves Tracker Junkies, from around the world. "It's simple," says Evans, "With no borders opening, no health assurances, and swaths of people refusing to wear masks or keep at prescribed social distances, we can't see a feasible way to run the race this year."

However, the race has always promoted the value of overcoming adversity, and this year is no different. Following the decision to cancel the Race to Alaska, the Northwest Maritime Center has unveiled their solution for finding adventure in the new year.

"We're running a race in 2021 and it's called WA360—that's pronounced Washington360 if you're stumbling a little. It's the longest race of its kind in Washington and—much like its Alaskan counterpart—engineless, unsupported, and 360 miles through the best and worst conditions Washington waters have to offer. It's COVID conscious, logistically light, and demands all the skill, tenacity and patience you can muster."

Taking an idea from Jeanne Goussev, R2AK Captain of the 2018 winners, Team Sail Like a Girl, the Northwest Maritime Center molded what they believe to be something that can help relieve the tension of a country in crisis.

Evans adds, "Like R2AK, we hope WA360 is a moment to leave other realities behind and rediscover the strength and resilience we each hold within ourselves so we may return to a world, in whatever form of disarray we left, and help make it better."

The application for WA360 opens January 15. Find out more about WA360 at nwmaritime.org/wa360

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