World's longest wheelchair race not so long this year

Posted: Tuesday, July 11, 2000

FAIRBANKS -- The world's longest wheelchair race will begin in Fairbanks and end in Anchorage as usual, but will be about 100 miles shorter this year.

The Midnight Sun Ultrachallenge race, sponsored by Sadler's Home Furnishings, will be held between July 22 and July 27. Four wheelchair racers and 15 handcyclists are entered.

Instead of racing 367 miles between Fairbanks and Anchorage, this year wheelchair racers and handcyclists will travel about 266 miles. The nine-stage event has been chopped to six because of planned construction on the Parks Highway and increased vehicular traffic between Willow and Anchorage, according to race director Casey Corbin.

``There's quite a bit of road torn up,'' Corbin said.

The decision by supervising organization Challenge Alaska to tamper with the race's basic format angered Don Brandon of Juneau, who began the race 16 years ago.

``That's not the same race,'' said Brandon, the state's Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator. ``There's all kinds of ways to get around the traffic to do the race.''

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