Although today the race could be held in Texas, The Iditarod will, as always, be held in Alaska, starting on March 7th. However, they have made some significant changes due to COVID-19. Here’s the scoop:
The Iditarod Trail Committee confirmed that both the restart and the finish of the Last Great Race on Earth will take place at Deshka Landing. The decision was mutually made by the Iditarod and the Willow Area Community Organization due to concern for COVID-19 risk mitigation at the Willow Area Community Center, which is also undergoing construction projects on facilities regularly utilized by the Iditarod.
Deshka Landing, located approximately 7.5 road miles from Willow Lake, serves as a year-round access point to the Lower Susitna Drainage consisting of the Susitna River, Deshka River, Yentna River, Alexander Creek and all tributaries. This change for the 2021 race, along with the Iditarod Golden Trail Loop race route, further allows race organizers to safely execute and continue to protect the communities along the trail, the mushers, volunteers and Iditarod personnel. Continue reading Iditarod Starts in 18 Days!→
I know many people worry about the health and welfare of sled dogs during long races like the Iditarod. Here’s an interesting (if you’re a nerd like me) article about how these dogs’ feet can withstand being in snow and ice for nine days, written by the Iditarod’s veterinarians.
A penguin, a sled dog, and a manatee walk into a diner…
Exxon Mobile just announced they are pulling their sponsorship of the Iditarod after this year, citing the economic state of the world right now. PETA is applauding this as an animal rights victory. Race officials, meanwhile, cite the number of volunteer veterinarians who attend to the dogs throughout their journey.
My humble opinion, formed by watching the race from afar, is that the dogs appear to be having a great deal of fun.
I just realized I never let you know that the Yukon Quest is officially over.
The Yukon News reports that Alaskan musher Olivia Webster is the 2020 Yukon Quest’s red lantern, crossing the finish line in Whitehorse at approximately 8 p.m. on Feb. 15. The rookie is the granddaughter of Leroy Shank, one of the founders of the Yukon Quest, who was at the finish line to show his support.
The “red lantern” indicates the last musher to cross the finish line. Until that team comes in, a red lantern remains lit at the finish line to guide the mushers home.
Congratulations to all who participated.
Next up: the granddaddy of them all: the Iditarod! It begins with a ceremonial start on March 7th, followed by the real start on March 8th. I can’t wait!
Peter Kaiser is in the lead, going into White Mountain.
1 Peter Kaiser (9) In to White Mountain
2 Joar Leifseth Ulsom (28) In to White Mountain
3 Jessie Royer (14) Out of Elim
4 Aliy Zirkle (19) In to Elim
5 Matt Hall (3) In to Elim
6 Jessie Holmes (5) Out of Koyuk
7 Mitch Seavey (32) Out of Koyuk
8 Travis Beals (51) Out of Koyuk
9 Paige Drobny (40) Out of Koyuk
10 Aaron Burmeister (38) Out of Koyuk
Nicholas Petit is now in the lead and has left the checkpoint at the town of Iditarod.
1 Nicolas Petit (20) Out of Iditarod
2 Aliy Zirkle (19) In to Iditarod
3 Joar Leifseth Ulsom (28) In to Iditarod
4 Martin Buser (21) In to Iditarod
5 Jessie Royer (14) In to Iditarod
6 Peter Kaiser (9) Out of Ophir
7 Richie Diehl (29) Out of Ophir
8 Ryan Redington (22) Out of Ophir
9 Mitch Seavey (32) Out of Ophir
10 Matthew Failor (17) Out of Ophir
Although the 2016 Iditarod doesn’t start until March 5th, organizers are already getting ramped up. According to their Facebook page, more than 70 competitors are already registered from places as distant as Norway, and they are looking for volunteers to help out with the race. You can get all the details at the official website.
They are also running a raffle (details pictured here) to help pay for the race. Only 4,000 tickets will be sold, each priced at $100. Four lucky winners will each receive a Dodge truck, while 16 more winners will each receive $1,000.
The Iditarod is one of my favorite dog-related annual events. I, of course, love seeing the beautiful dogs in action, but I’m also interested because I cannot imagine why anyone would want to put themselves through the incredible challenge, battling solitude, weather, and distance.
Some day, I want to go to the race and observe or even volunteer, but I’ll be home wrapped up in a blanket watching it this year.
Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!
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