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Can-Am Crown International Sled Dog Races are about more than just winning

"Very few people that race dogs or own dogs or run dogs can race a Can-Am race trail and finish it," Race President Dennis Cyr said.

FORT KENT, Maine — The winners of the Can-Am Crown International Sled Dog 30-mile and 100-mile races were announced in an awards ceremony Sunday morning. Each of the top three mushers received a plaque and prize money. 

But winning isn't always the goal in this sport. 

Katherine Marcoux, a 28-year-old from Bow, New Hampshire, exemplified the idea that this sport is really about "never losing heart."

"I've always wanted to do the Can-Am," Marcoux said. 

Marcoux was a rookie in the Can-Am 30-mile race this year. It was her longest race to date.

"It was very anxiety-ridden doing a race this long," Marcoux said. 

But she managed to make it across the finish line, a feat not every competitor is able to do. 

"Very few people that race dogs or own dogs or run dogs can race a Can-Am race trail and finish it," Dennis Cyr, president of the Can-Am Crown International Sled Dog Races, said.

Marcoux received a unique recognition, known as the Red Lantern Award, for her accomplishment. 

"I find it's harder to sometimes to win the Red Lantern Award than it is to win other awards," Cyr said. 

The Red Lantern Award is given to the musher in each race who finishes in last place. 

"Finishing the Can-Am race is something you gotta be proud of," Cyr said.

This award is a tradition that dates back to the start of the Iditarod race. According to the Iditarod website, it's a symbol of grit, determination, and perseverance.

"When she came in, she was in tears," Cyr said of Marcoux.

"I definitely didn't anticipate the amount of hills that it was," Marcoux said.

The many challenges Marcoux faced along the course forced her to switch her six-dog lineup several times during the race. On top of that, Marcoux traveled more than seven hours to Fort Kent this weekend without a handler or any extra support. 

"I've been running the team by myself, training by myself ... It's hard," Marcoux said.

But Marcoux said she was determined to make it to the end, being motivated by the promise of sleep and food, and for her dogs. 

"I just wanted to see my dogs complete this race," Marcoux said. 

Marcoux added this sport is about making sure that even when it gets hard, to "never lose heart."

Marcoux said throughout the course she kept telling herself she would not be coming back for the Can-Am race next year, but after crossing the finish line, she has already changed her mind. 

For a complete list of race results, click here

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