The 2016 Iditarod starts in about 30 minutes. Check out the official race blog, which details the last-minute preparations at Willow Lake as mushers gather for the official start.
Scott Janssen will be first out of the chute at 2 pm Alaskan (6 pm Eastern). He will be followed by another sled every two minutes until the 85th contestant, Martin Koenig, leaves at 4:48 Alaskan time.
Don’t worry about Mr. Koenig, though. Each competitor has to stay extra time at one of the check points, equivalent to the amount of time they got to leave ahead of the last sled. For example, since the first musher is 2 hours and 48 minutes ahead of the last, the first one will be held at a way point for 2 hours and 48 minutes. The 2nd to last musher will be held only 2 minutes because he’s only 2 minutes ahead of the last guy.
Check back daily for an update on the standings, and be sure to explore the official Iditarod site for tons of information about the race.
Please note: I’m using stock photos because I don’t have permission to use photos from the real race. What’s interesting to me is that most of the dog teams are made up of mixed-breed dogs. I always picture Malamutes and Huskies running the race, as shown in movies. However, most of the mushers seem to prefer mutt-i-grees.
I wish I had known this earlier, I would have given you advance warning. For the first time, the Iditarod ceremonial start is being live-streamed FOR FREE at Iditarod.com. Take a few minutes and check out these powerful working dogs and their handlers. The last racer is scheduled to take off at 1:04 pm Alaskan time, which is 5:04 pm in the East.
The actual timed race will begin on Sunday at 2 pm Alaksan time (6 pm Eastern). I’ll be bringing you the standings every day until it’s over – usually about 10 days.
One of the problems for planners this year has been the lack of snow, leaving a very icy trail. We’ll have to see how that impacts the race as it progresses. This being an even year, they are taking the Northern Route, which one would assume would mean more snow.
The live stream broadcast is really a good idea, I think. For all of the haters who think the dogs are being forced or whipped to do something they don’t want to do, this shows that the dogs CANNOT WAIT to get started. There are, in fact, people holding them back until it’s their turn to go.
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.
To me, it’s a chance to see beautiful dogs compete at the uppermost level under extreme circumstances. Oh, yeah, and the scenery’s pretty terrific, too!
Here’s how the official Iditarod website describes this epic event: “The Last Great Race on Earth®”
You can’t compare it to any other competitive event in the world! A race covering 1000 miles of the roughest, most beautiful terrain Mother Nature has to offer. She throws jagged mountain ranges, frozen river, dense forest, desolate tundra and miles of windswept coast at the mushers and their dog teams. Add to that temperatures far below zero, winds that can cause a complete loss of visibility, the hazards of overflow, long hours of darkness and treacherous climbs and side hills, and you have the Iditarod. A race extraordinaire, a race only possible in Alaska.
Congratulations to Mitch Seavey, who mushed into Nome last night at 10:39, followed about 30 minutes later by Aliy Zirkle. The 2013 Iditarod is now in the history books. Continue reading And we have a winner!→
Of note: reigning and 4-time champion Lance Mackey moves from 6th yesterday to 3rd today.
Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!
P.S. – Straight Poop, our free bi-weekly newsletter had lots of information about the Iditarod in the last issue. If you haven’t subscribed yet, sign up today using the form on the right side of your screen.!
I don’t know about you, but I’m really excited about the Iditarod this year. We don’t get any TV coverage where I am, so I have been following along on the web. Here are the top ten people on the leaderboard as of March 9th.