Watching the tracker for the past couple of days, it looked like Michelle Phillips might break into the top 10. But there was pressure from behind as Ramey Smyth and Richie Diehl put the pedal to the metal and gradually gained time on Phillips. She’s knocking on the door of the top 10 and 2022 might be her year.
Phillips was born and raised in Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory. She did what many young people do when they are foot loose and fancy free – travel. After spending ten years see the world, Phillips returned to the Yukon Territory to settle down. When she met her future partner, Ed Hopkins, Michelle’s life went to the dogs! Ed introduced her to the sport of dog mushing and she fell in love with the dogs, their athleticism and the lifestyle of mushing.
Michelle comes from an athletic family and is used to training and challenging herself to accomplish personal goals. Phillips trained for many years as a figure skater. Ice is no stranger, but the windblown frozen river out side of Rohn is a different beast.
Phillips ran the Yukon Quest as her first long distance event. The longevity gave her what she loves about the sport – “traveling with my team of dogs and spending time with my best friends.”
Michelle has run seven Yukon Quest races with a personal best finish of 4th place. She’s completed 11 of 11 Iditarod races with 6 top 20 finishes, the best being 13th until establishing a new personal best of 11th this year.
Michelle and Ed along with their son Keegan operate Tagish Lake Kennel. When they are not training for races, they offer sled dog adventures to visitors.
Michelle says, “I love running dogs and Iditarod is a test of what I have trained for, for many years.”