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      Later start time for Midnight Run

      A change for the start of the Midnight Run sled dog race. It means more time for fun in Downtown Marquette but also creates the need for more volunteers.

      Teams will now be leaving Downtown Marquette starting at 9 p.m. next Friday, February 15. They were going to leave right after the U.P. 200 competitors. That race starts at 6:50 p.m. with the last teams expected to leave by 7:45 p.m.

      Race organizers were worried about safety--the Midnight Run teams could have run into U.P. 200 teams on the trails. It would have also led to a very early finish in Munising on Saturday morning for the Midnight Run. Now, teams will arrive in Munising between 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. on Saturday.

      The change also creates more time for spectators to enjoy the fun in Downtown Marquette. Musical acts are being scheduled for the time between races.

      The later start means volunteers will have to stay later on Friday night, and more are still needed, according to Pat Torreano, the president of the U.P. Sled Dog Association.

      "That's going to be very important downtown," said Torreano. "We need crowd control for the second race, and by far we need clean-up people there. That clean-up will come probably around 10 p.m."

      Torreano said about 100 more volunteers are still needed to cover everything, including road crossings on the trail to Munising. If you can help out, call volunteer coordinator Anna Sanford at (906) 942-7850.

      Torreano said the trails are in good condition, and as long as the nights stay cold, they will stay that way. Twenty-one teams are currently registered for the U.P. 200, with 23 teams signed up for the Midnight Run. For more information on the race, go to www.up200.org.