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Brule musher poised to run dream race

She's run her dogs with some of the best in the sport and competed in two Alaskan sled dog races. Now, Talia Martens of Brule is poised to tackle the Junior Iditarod. Running the race has been her dream, and this weekend it becomes a reality.

The Junior Iditarod begins at 10 a.m. (1 p.m. Central Time) Saturday in Wasilla and wraps up with an awards banquet at 6 p.m. (9 p.m. Central Time) Sunday at the Willow Community Center. To follow the progress of Talia and her team online, visit jriditarod.com and click on the GPS Tracker tab. Or keep tabs through her website, www.taliasteam.com or the Talia's Team Facebook page.

Talia, 17, is one of nine young dog sled enthusiasts competing in the event, which takes place a week before the Iditarod itself.

Martens and her team left Brule Jan. 5 with the backing of family, friends and the community. Signs at the Brule Cenex and Twin Gables Cafe wished her luck. Her father and uncle drove the team 3,100 miles to Willow, Alaska.

Friends and family members have been visiting her in Alaska over the last month as she's trained and raced. Donna Smith and her fourth-graders at Solon Springs Elementary sent Martens cards for Valentine's Day.

"Have a safe trip," wrote one student. "Good luck."

Hearts decorated the card from Kiya McKercher.

"The fourth grade class here at Solon Springs Elementary has been tracking your progress," Smith wrote. "We are so proud of what you and your team have accomplished."

The Brule musher placed fifth in the Tustumena 100 dog sled race through the Kenai Mountains in Alaska. Two weeks later, on Feb. 10, the team placed seventh in the 115-mile 2019 Willow Junior dog sled race in Willow, Alaska.

Martens also volunteered to man a trail/highway intersection during the Willow 300 sled dog race Feb. 8.

The Junior Iditarod is Martens' last scheduled race before she packs up the team and travels home to Brule, and back to classes at Northwestern High School.

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