The world's toughest snowmachine race will continue next year in Alaska, according to the Iron Dog board.

In a unanimous vote by the Iron Dog board, the organization decided to resume the race.

“It was time to step up because I didn’t want it to fail,” Irondog President Jeff Johnson said. “It costs us $400,000 to put on this race and we have some super sponsors. It’s because of them that we’ve been able to keep this race going.”

Rumors swirled over the past few weeks regarding the Irondogs immediate future. Low turnout numbers and funding were factors the board took into consideration in regards to canceling the “worlds longest and toughest snowmobile race” in 2019 and setting a focus on 2020.

“When looked at a lot of factors,” Johnson said. “The response was great. We have 50 racers who told us they want to be in it. We also sent out a survey with hundreds of responses.”

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Johnson also says they are looking into adding more board members to help run the race. Currently, there are nine board members and Johnson says hiring a new executive director is vital.

“We are discussing this tonight,” Johnson said. “We hope to announce something soon. We need more help and are very thankful for all the volunteer hours people have put in.”

Johnson says the race will stay the same, starting in Big Lake, through Nome then finishing in Fairbanks. Although the race will be pretty much the same, some other aspects will change.

“More than likely we’ll not hold the ceremonial start in downtown Anchorage,” Johnson said. “We can spend our money in better places. The parking and maneuvering downtown wasn’t working out. We had a great turn out in Big Lake so we’ll just do other things there.”

The race and its memories are close to Johnson’s heart.

“I remember as a kid, in 1988 or '89, I was in eighth grade,” Johnson says. “I remember living in Nome and a buddy and I got to lead the racers through town on front street. You can’t beat that.”

More details on the 2019 Irondog race will be released in the coming days.

Scott Gross contributed to this story.

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