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Polar Roll will take place but will involve new format

We congratulate Polar Roll organizers for thinking outside the box by coming up with a new format for the event, which has proven to be a highlight of winter.

This fat tire bike race will done in a new format this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The organizers refer to the new format as “EX” — meaning extra enhanced — involves racers completing the race in a self-supported manner with a GPS to navigate and selfie checkpoints along the way, according to the website www.thepolarroll.com.

Registration is available now through March 7, with participation available today through March 14, instead of just on a single day.

Todd Poquette, director of adventure with the 906 Adventure Team, said on the website: “We introduced the EX format for Crusher this summer — and it was a hit. We’ll miss the excitement of a mass start, the finish line and after party. But it is what it is and we need to adapt — and we will.”

Polar Roll organizers have been in contact with health officials, municipalities, police departments, trail organizations and others to put on a safe event during the COVID-19 pandemic, Poquette noted.

This year, events will run on the Range Area Mountain Bike Association and Noquemanon Trail Network trails, with participants either traveling by fat bike or snowshoe. At least $10 from each entry will support the trails.

Participants in the race must find the selfie-checkpoints on the course, take a selfie and continue to be considered a finisher. Website updates will address the next steps.

Digital and hard-copy passports contain Polar Roll rules, events, winter trail etiquette, sponsors, trail organization spotlights and more.

There’s a wonderful array of choices in this year’s categories: Walk in the Park, two short snowshoe loops in Negaunee and Ishpeming; Polar Roll-RAMBA, a 20-mile trek by bike or snowshoe; Polar Roll-NTN, a 36-mile ride around Marquette; IQ Test, a duathlon in which participants bike RAMBA in one direction and snowshoe the other for a total of 40 miles; and the Snowflake, which is all the events.

For details, visit thepolarroll.com.

We thank the 906 Adventure Team — a nonprofit based in Marquette County that serves Delta and Gogebic counties “with a mission to empower people to become the best version of themselves through outdoor adventure” — for coming up with a format that continues the fun but protects participants from potential COVID exposure.

The team also

Learn more about this team — which also produces The Crusher and Marji Gesick races — at 906adventureteam.com.

We hope many people get off the couch and get out to enjoy the beauty of winter, Polar Roll style.

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