WTIP photo

WTIP talks with musher Matthew Schmidt about Gunflint Mail Run victory

With fresh snow falling on the Gunflint Trail area Saturday morning, a collection of local, regional and national mushers took to the trail for the 2022 Gunflint Mail Run sled dog race.

In the end, two Cook County mushers were the top finishers in both categories this year. Matthew Schmidt won the 12-dog race. Joanna Oberg took first place in the shorter distance eight-dog race.

Schmidt finished with a time of 7 hours, 52 minutes and 33 seconds.

Oberg finished in 6 hours, 11 minutes and 58 seconds.

This was Schmidt’s first race since he suffered a serious health complication with his heart in late 2020. A return to the competitive mushing scene after facing such a serious health scare brought extra meaning to this year’s first-place finish, Schmidt told WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs after the race. This year’s victory is Schmidt’s first time winning a competitive event in mushing.

Although competitive, the tight-knit mushing community rally around each other through hard times, Schmidt said, noting the health challenges his fellow musher, Frank Moe, is facing at this time. Moe, who continues to receive medical treatment in the Twin Cities region after undergoing brain surgery in August, was recognized in multiple ways during the 2022 Mail Run.

When it comes to the setting for the Gunflint Mail Run, Schmidt said the Gunflint Trail community is emblematic of what generosity and looking out for one another are all about.

Listen to the audio below to hear the full interview with Schmidt.