FORT KENT, Maine — New Hampshire musher Peter Franke was the first Can-Am Crown Sled Dog Race finisher this weekend, crossing the finish line late Saturday morning.

Close behind him was 12-year-old Lara Renner, this year’s youngest race competitor.

Franke’s unofficial run time posted on the Can-Am’s website at can-am-crown.net had him completing the 30-mile course in 2 hours, 47:46 seconds.

Renner, who trains with Franke, finished in 02:55:30.

Posting the best 30-mile finish as of Saturday afternoon, with 15 racers still on the course, was Can-Am veteran Bailey Vitello of Massachusetts, who completed the race in 02:35:35.

“That was so much fun,” Renner said minutes after arriving back in Fort Kent. “There were so many hills, and I ran so much.”

Forty-seven mushers and their huskies hit the trails leading from Fort Kent, as the annual Can-Am Crown Sled Dog Races got underway earlier Saturday morning.

Seven racers took part in the 60-mile event, with 23 30-mile racers taking to the trails.

Seventeen mushers took off down Main Street to start the weekend’s 250-mile flagship race on their way to the first checkpoint in Portage, 68 miles south of Fort Kent.

From there, the 250 mushers enter deep into Maine’s North Woods and the two remote checkpoints before arriving at the fourth checkpoint in Allagash and then the final push to the finish line at Fort Kent’s Lonesome Pine Ski Lodge.

Winners of the shorter races are expected to arrive at the ski lodge throughout Saturday afternoon.

The 250-mile mushers should start arriving back in Fort Kent early Monday morning.

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Julia Bayly

Julia Bayly is a reporter at the Bangor Daily News with a regular bi-weekly column. Julia has been a freelance travel writer/photographer since 2000.