KINGSTON, Jamaica – Following on the success of the Jamaican bobsleigh team which first participated in the Winter Olympic Games in 1988 , Jamaican musher Newton Marshall looks set to build on the island’s tradition of excellence in winter adventure sports, after a strong 13th place finish in the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race.
Marshall who became the first Jamaican and first black man to take part in the epic winter sports event in the toughest sled dog race in the Yukon and Alaskan wilderness, finished 13th from a field of 29 mushers. The grueling Yukon Quest covers 1,000 miles (1,600 km) spanning four mountain ranges between Whitehorse, Yukon and Fairbanks, Alaska and takes place when weather conditions can be the coldest and most unpredictable. It lasts from 10 to 16 days until the final dog team arrives at the finish.
The Jamaican musher completed his endurance test after 12 days, outpacing 16 other mushers, and now joins the illustrious company of 250 persons who have completed the Yukon Quest in its 26 year history.
Marshall becomes Jamaica’s newest sports ambassador and has also placed the country’s name in another chapter within the annals of sporting history.
Marshall’s outstanding performance was recognized by the race marshals and judges who selected him as the winner of the coveted ‘Challenge of the North Award’ for best exemplifying the spirit of the Yukon Quest.
In making the presentation, race marshal Doug Grilliot noted, “I’ll be the first to admit when I saw his entry I didn’t think it was much more than a publicity stunt.”
Newton Marshall now has his sights set on participating next year in the Iditarod in Anchorage, Alaska where he will look to blaze another trail.
Danny Melville, Founder of the Jamaica Dog Sled Team, is proud of Marshall’s achievement and lauds his tenacity to complete such an exhausting event which many others have tried and failed to accomplish.
“Jamaica’s prowess in the field of sports is well-known and it is heartening that a new ambassador has emerged at this time in a non-traditional sport, as we continue to find creative and innovative ways to ensure the destination remains top of mind for persons looking for a vacation option,” said John Lynch, Jamaica’s Director of Tourism.