Carmacks, YK - Matt Hall claimed third place and became this year’s Yukon Quest Rookie of the Year Tuesday afternoon. The 22-year old grew up training dogs in Eagle, Alaska. He says he signed up for this year’s Quest for the experience. “I didn’t go it this race with a schedule of any kind. I basically figured it out right out of the start chute.”
He says he didn’t decided to start running a competitive race until he reached the halfway point in Dawson City.
“When I started this race, I wasn’t planning on being competitive at all," he says. "I was like ‘I’m going to run my own race, do my own thing and learn about it.’" he explains. "It wasn’t until Dawson that I realized how good the team was looking and I was looking at the standings and I was like ‘You know, I’m going to at least hold where I’m at,’ and I didn’t expect anything more than that.”
At the time, Hall was running in fourth place. He managed to move his way up to third by the time he reached Carmacks. Only five rookies started this year’s Yukon Quest. Hall was favored to become the first of the group to cross the finish line. He says it was a goal of his. “No, I wasn’t planning on racing, but I did say I’d like to get Rookie of the Year. It would be a nice accomplishment.”
The always smiling and very polite Hall left nearly every checkpoint with a wave and a thank you. He did the same at the finish line.