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Iditarod live blog: Iditarod 2022 complete, musher’s banquet tonight

Last 2 mushers have crossed the finish line in Nome
Iditarod Race Marshal Mark Nordman hands the Red Lantern to Apayauq Reitan as she prepares to...
Iditarod Race Marshal Mark Nordman hands the Red Lantern to Apayauq Reitan as she prepares to extinguish it.(Photo courtesy Iditarod.com)
Published: Mar. 5, 2022 at 8:26 AM AKST|Updated: Mar. 20, 2022 at 2:09 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - This live blog is where the Alaska’s News Source team will post breaking updates, race standings and more throughout the 50th annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

March 22 - 9 a.m.

Awards given out

Now that the Red and Widow Lanterns have been extinguished and all the mushers are off the trail, they gathered in Nome for a banquet to give out awards.

March 20 - 2:10 p.m.

Reitan takes home Red Lantern Award as final musher to arrive in Nome

Apayauq Reitan of Kaktovik has won the Red Lantern award, as the last musher to finish the Iditarod this year. Yuka Honda of Healy was not far in front of her, finishing just 11 minutes ahead of Reitan.

Reitan finished with seven dogs in 13 days, 8 hours, 39 minutes, and 13 seconds, crossing the finish line at 11:39 p.m. Saturday night.

“There was a part where it was blowing pretty hard from the side and we were going like almost at a 45 degree angle with the sled forward,” Reitan told Iditarod.com at the finish line. “It’s very nice to be here and for so many people to have shown up. It’s nice to see.”

As the final finisher, Reitan extinguished both the Widow’s Lamp and the Red Lantern to signify that each musher had safely gotten off the trail.

In total, 37 mushers finished the Iditarod and 12 mushers scratched.

March 19 - 4:21 p.m.

Three more mushers scratch Saturday between White Mountain and Safety

Just four mushers remain on the Iditarod Trail between White Mountain and Safety after rookies Sebastien Dos Santos Borges and KattiJo Deeter scratched on Saturday along with Jeff Deeter. Late last night, all three teams accepted assistance from White Mountain search and rescue and the Nome Kennel Club.

“In the late evening on March 18, 2022, Iditarod Race Marshal Mark Nordman was notified that all three teams had accepted assistance between the checkpoints of White Mountain and Safety,” a spokesperson for the Iditarod wrote. “...The mushers have been in direct communication with the race marshal while at the shelter cabin and the race teams are reportedly in good health. Upon arrival in Nome, the race teams will be given a full veterinary check.”

Rookie Kailyn Davis is just 40 miles out from Nome, leading the pack of four mushers who are en route to Safety.

“I’m feeling great, the team’s feeling great,” Davis told Iditarod Insider in White Mountain.

Just 12 miles separates Davis and Apayauq Reitan, currently in last place. Both Davis and Reitan have eight dogs on their lines. Fellow rookie Eric Kelly has 11 dogs and is just four miles behind Davis. Yuka Honda has 12 dogs and is just one mile ahead of Reitan as the last two mushers approach the Norton Sound coast.

If all four remaining mushers keep their pace, most will likely finish late Saturday night or early Sunday morning.

There have now been 12 mushers who have scratched and 33 have reached Nome.

March 19 - 1:38 p.m.

Dyche arrives in Nome, 7 mushers left on trail

Riley Dyche took his six dogs out of the Shaktoolik checkpoint on Tuesday and mushed those six dogs for the next 221 miles over the course of nearly four days all the way to Nome.

Dyche arrived under the burled arch in Nome on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. after a harrowing 35 hour trip from White Mountain to Safety, according to the Iditarod standings. Dyche said that he and other mushers waited out a storm with 70 mph winds at the cabin outside of White Mountain.

“I made it through to that shelter cabin and it was kind of calm when I got to the cabin, so I tried to continue on but immediately go like blown off my sled and cartwheeled,” Dyche said. “So I figured it would be best to hold up in Topkok for a while and yeah that’s what I did, I just kind of waited it out. A few other mushers showed up, the search and rescue team helped guide them in yesterday and so yeah yesterday, last night there was like 30 dogs in that cabin from the other teams all arriving and letting everybody in, so it was pretty warm in there.”

Rookie musher Sean Williams was the latest to withdraw from the race, officially scratching at 4:30 p.m. at White Mountain.

“Due to deteriorating weather conditions, Williams received snowmachine assistance back to the White Mountain checkpoint,” an Iditarod spokesperson said. “Williams’ race team is being transported to White Mountain as well by White Mountain search and rescue with support from the Iditarod trail snowmachine crew who monitors the back of the race. Upon arrival, the race team will be given a full veterinary check.”

Williams is the ninth musher to scratch from the 2022 Iditarod. There are still seven mushers — including four rookies — on the trail between White Mountain and Safety, many of whom departed early this morning. According to the Iditarod GPS tracker, Sebastien Dos Santos Borges, KattiJo and Jeff Deeter are leading the group of mushers that are left, resting together along the Norton Sound coast with 49 miles to go. Apayauq Reitan was the last to leave White Mountain this afternoon at 12:38 p.m.

Despite the harrowing journey by Dyche and his team from White Mountain to Safety where he averaged a speed of only 1.54 mph, Dyche was in good spirits when he was interviewed by staff for Iditarod.com

“As soon as I heard the wind calm down, we got out of there,” Dyche said. “In that situation it was very much kind of a survival situation. It was pretty consistent like 70 mph just steady wind blasting us, so I just kind of got everybody inside and we got in shelter and then it was just a matter of patience like you said, just hanging out and so it definitely wasn’t normal checkpoint routine because you really couldn’t really go outside even. It was pretty hairy wind it really really picked up there so yeah we just hung out. And you know I live off grid in a dry cabin and that cabin has electricity — thanks Nome Kennel Club — so it’s pretty bougie really. There was lights and I could charge my phone and everything so yeah we just kind of hung out.”

March 18 - 8:03 p.m.

2 more teams scratch Friday after being rescued from Iditarod Trail

The Iditarod Trail Committee announced that rookies Gerhardt Thiart and Bridgett Watkins both scratched on Friday, after needing to be extracted from the trail. There are just nine mushers who are still on the trail between White Mountain and Nome, according to Iditarod standings.

In an email, an Iditarod spokesperson said that Thiart activated his emergency beacon at 10:19 a.m. when high winds deteriorated conditions near Topkok Hills. Thiart sustained a leg injury and was assisted off the trail by an individual driving by on a snowmachine. Thiart was taken to Nome in a helicopter, where he is being evaluated.

Watkins called a family member asking to be “assisted off the trail” around the same time that Thiart activated his emergency beacon, according to the Iditarod. Search and rescue personnel were notified, but Watkins’ husband and four others were already on the trial to assist mushers and transported her to White Mountain.

Watkins was taken to Nome and is with her family, the spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for Iditarod said that both sled dog teams are being taken to White Mountain by Iditarod Trail snowmachine crew members and White Mountain search and rescue members.

There are 32 mushers who have already arrived in Nome. Of the nine teams still on the trail who have yet to finish, five have left White Mountain headed for Safety.

March 17 - 9:35 p.m.

Just 11 sled dogs teams remain on the Iditarod Trail

A total of 32 teams have crossed the finish line in Nome in this year’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Official race standings show that Matthew Failor finished 30th at 8:51 p.m. on Thursday, followed by rookie Matt Paveglio at 9 p.m. and musher Karin Hendrickson at 9:05 p.m.

The remaining 11 teams are still on their way to the Nome, led by Riley Dyche, who left the White Mountain checkpoint at 8:06 p.m. Thursday. The remaining mushers are spread between the Koyuk and White Mountain checkpoints.

In all, six mushers have scratched this year. Lisbet Norris was the most recent to scratch, at the Unalakleet checkpoint with 10 dogs in harness at the time.

March 17 - 1:30 p.m.

Hanna Lyrek of Norway wins 2022 Iditarod Rookie of the Year

Hanna Lyrek, a 22-year-old Norwegian musher, was awarded the 2022 Iditarod Rookie of the Year award Thursday for her 19th-place effort, the best finish among 13 rookies in the field of 49.

Lyrek crossed under the burled arch in Nome on Wednesday at 5:43 p.m., finishing the 975 miles in 10 days, 2 hours, 43 minutes and 12 seconds. The young dog musher from Alta, Norway, finished just over 36 hours after race winner Brent Sass.

“It’s a dream come true. It doesn’t feel real yet,” Lyrek said.

Lyrek is from Alaska but currently lives in Norway, another northern country with roots in dog mushing. Both of her parents have raced the Iditarod, and it was her mother’s finish in 2005 that sparked Hanna’s dream of racing one day.

“My dream was to become Rookie of the Year,” Lyrek said.

Lyrek was the first Rookie to arrive in Nome. "It's a dream come true. It doesn't feel real yet," Lyrek said.

March 17 - 9:30 a.m.

Lisbet Norris scratches in Unalakleet, joining five other teams

Fairbanks musher Lisbet Norris scratched in Unalakleet Wednesday night at 11:50 p.m. with 10 dogs in harness. Iditarod officials said Norris decided to end her race early “in the best interest of her race team.”

It’s the first scratch for Norris in four total Iditarod starts, who has a best finish of 48th in her rookie year of 2014. Norris had not raced the Iditarod since 2016.

Norris joins five other race teams who have scratched in this year’s race, including Joshua McNeal of Fairbanks, Hugh Neff of Anchorage, Julie Ahnen of Cantwell, Ryne Olson of Two Rivers and Anja Radano of Talkeetna.

The top 24 mushers had made it to the finish line in Nome as of Thursday morning, with the Berington sisters, Anna and Kristy, reaching Nome just before midnight Wednesday evening. Anna crossed first at 11:44 p.m. and Kristy came through one minute later.

MusherCheckpointInOut
20. Paige DrobnyNome5:43 p.m. Wed
21. Martin Massicotte (R)Nome11:17 p.m. Wed
22. Mats PetterssonNome11:37 p.m. Wed
23. Anna BeringtonNome11:44 p.m. Wed
24. Kristy BeringtonNome11:45 p.m. Wed
25. Martin BuserWhite Mountain7:14 p.m. Wed3:14 a.m. Thurs
26. Joe Taylor (R)White Mountain7:36 p.m. Wed3:45 a.m. Thurs
27. Jeff KingWhite Mountain10:02 p.m. Wed9:00 a.m. Thurs
28. Amanda Otto (R)White Mountain10:03 p.m. Wed9:01 a.m. Thurs
29. Deke NaaktgeborenWhite Mountain12:45 a.m. Thurs9:11 a.m. Thurs

March 16 - 10:03 p.m.

Top 20 mushers have arrived in Nome, more are on the way

The next wave of mushers looking to complete this year’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race are on their way to Nome, after the first 20 teams arrived Tuesday and Wednesday.

Hanna Lyrek and Paige Drobny finished 19th and 20th, respectively, just 31 seconds apart on Wednesday. The next closest mushers are Martin Massicotte, Mats Pettersson and sisters Kristy and Anna Berington, according to the Iditarod’s GPS tracker.

Those four have left Safety and are closing in on Nome, while other mushers remain scattered across several other checkpoints.

March 16 - 5:48 p.m.

Top 20 mushers have arrived in Nome

Rookie Hanna Lyrek and Paige Drobny arrived in Nome on Wednesday evening to round out the top 20 mushers. The two finished 31 seconds apart, with Lyrek pulling in slightly ahead of Drobny.

The finishing order for 11th through 20th place is below:

MusherCheckpointIn
11. Joar Leifseth UlsomNome3/16 7:48 a.m.
12. Travis BealsNome3/16 8:39 a.m.
13. Ramey SmythNome3/16 8:50 a.m.
14. Mille PorsildNome3/16 8:56 a.m.
15. Matt HallNome3/16 9:21 a.m.
16. Mitch SeaveyNome3/16 10:19 a.m.
17. Michelle PhillipsNome3/16 12:52 p.m.
18. Lev ShvartsNome3/16 1:03 p.m.
19. Hanna LyrekNome3/16 5:43 p.m.
20. Paige DrobnyNome3/16 5:43 p.m.

March 16 - 12 p.m.

16 mushers now in Nome

Sixteen mushers have now reached Nome.

Joar Leifseth Ulsom arrived in Nome on Tuesday at 7:48 a.m. to claim 11th place. He was followed by Travis Beals in 12th, Ramey Smyth in 13th, Mille Porsild in 14th, Matt Hall in 15th and Mitch Seavey in 16th.

Michelle Phillips and Lev Shvarts have passed through the Safety checkpoint and are on their way to Nome.

March 16 - 8:30 a.m.

Top 10 finishers all in Nome

Aaron Peck and his dog team crossed the finish line at 3:10 a.m. Wednesday morning to claim the 10th-place finishing spot in the 50th Iditarod.

Peck, a veteran racer from Canada, followed up on his career-best finish of 14th last year with an even better result this year. Peck finished over 21 hours after race winner Brent Sass crossed the line.

Ahead of Peck, positions 7-9 were hotly contested between Chad Stoddard, Aaron Burmeister and Ryan Redington. Stoddard made it to Nome first to claim seventh, arriving at 11:28 p.m., just seven minutes ahead of Burmeister, who was only 51 minutes ahead of ninth-place finisher Redington. For Stoddard, it was his best career finish in the Iditarod, one year after winning Rookie of the Year with a 23rd-place result.

MusherCheckpointIn
1. Brent SassNome5:38 a.m. Tues
2. Dallas SeaveyNome6:46 a.m. Tues
3. Jessie HolmesNome7:39 p.m. Tues
4. Dan KaduceNome8:04 p.m. Tues
5. Pete KaiserNome9:45 p.m. Tues
6. Richie DiehlNome10:02 p.m. Tues
7. Chad StoddardNome11:28 p.m. Tues
8. Aaron BurmeisterNome11:35 p.m. Tues
9. Ryan RedingtonNome12:26 a.m. Wed
10. Aaron PeckNome3:10 a.m. Wed

March 15 - 10:27 p.m.

Race leaders fill out top 6 spots of Iditarod

A number of Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race leaders have made it to Nome, filling out the top six spots in the race.

Official race standings show that Jessie Holmes has finished third, Dan Kaduce was fourth, Peter Kaiser was fifth and Richie Diehl took sixth place on Tuesday.

Mushers Aaron Burmeister, Chad Stoddard, Ryan Redington and Aaron Peck have all left the Safety checkpoint and are racing to Nome to fill out the top 10 spots.

March 15 - 5:45 p.m.

Holmes clears Safety checkpoint

Jessie Holmes is leading the race for third place as of Tuesday evening.

Holmes checked in at the Safety checkpoint at 4:57 p.m. with nine dogs and was out two minutes later.

Behind Holmes, six mushers are between the White Mountain and Safety checkpoints -- Dan Kaduce, Richie Diehl, Peter Kaiser, Aaron Burmeister, Chad Stoddard and Ryan Redington.

March 15 - 1:30 p.m.

Race for third heating up

The race for third place in the 50th Iditarod is coming down to a duel between two mushers looking for their best Iditarod finish.

Brushkana’s Jessie Holmes and Chatanika’s Dan Kaduce left White Mountain midday Tuesday, with Holmes getting out at 11:35 a.m. and Kaduce leaving at 11:51 a.m.

Holmes has never finished better than seventh in the Last Great Race, a feat he accomplished as a rookie in 2018, while Kaduce has never finished in the top 10 in three previous races. Kaduce’s best career finish is 16th last year.

Richie Diehl and Pete Kaiser follow behind them, with Diehl leaving White Mountain at 12:50 p.m. Tuesday and Kaiser leaving 11 minutes later. Diehl has a best Iditarod finish of sixth in 2018, while Kaiser is a former champion (2019) with six total top 10′s in 12 starts.

MusherCheckpointInOut
1. Brent SassNome5:38 a.m. Tues
2. Dallas SeaveyNome6:46 a.m. Tues
3. Jessie HolmesWhite Mountain3:35 a.m. Tues11:35 a.m. Tues
4. Dan KaduceWhite Mountain3:48 a.m. Tues11:51 a.m. Tues
5. Richie DiehlWhite Mountain4:50 a.m. Tues12:50 p.m. Tues
6. Pete KaiserWhite Mountain5:01 a.m. Tues1:01 p.m. Tues
7. Aaron BurmeisterWhite Mountain5:57 a.m. Tues
8. Chad StoddardWhite Mountain6:18 a.m. Tues
9. Ryan RedingtonWhite Mountain6:50 a.m. Tues
10. Travis BealsWhite Mountain8:43 a.m. Tues

March 15 - 9:40 a.m.

Seavey comes up short of record-breaking win

Dallas Seavey’s shot at a record sixth Iditarod win came up short Tuesday morning when he pulled into the finishing chute in Nome at 6:46 a.m., good for second place but 1 hour, 8 minutes behind the winner, Brent Sass.

Seavey did have a faster run from the penultimate checkpoint in Safety to the finish, covering the 22-mile stretch in 2 hour, 33 minutes, chopping 17 minutes off Sass’s lead, but it was not enough to ensure a victory.

In the end, Seavey finished light with just seven dogs in harness, compared to the 11 canines that Sass had at the finish.

Dallas Seavey arrives in Nome with second-place finish

The race for third is ongoing as Jessie Holmes of Brushkana and Dan Kaduce of Chatanika lead a pack of eight teams looking for top-10 spots. Holmes was first to White Mountain, checking in at 3:35 a.m. Tuesday, with Kaduce just 13 minutes behind. Richie Diehl, Pete Kaiser, Aaron Burmeister, Chad Stoddard, Ryan Redington and Travis Beals are all also in White Mountain.

March 15 - 5:38 a.m.

Sass beats Seavey to Nome for big victory

Eureka veteran musher Brent Sass crossed under Nome’s famous burled arch Tuesday morning at 5:38 a.m. to win his first Iditarod title.

Sass left the final checkpoint before the finish in Safety at 2:48 a.m. to complete the final 22 miles to the finish in 2 hours, 50 minutes.

March 14 - 10:11 p.m.

Sass leads the way to Safety, with Seavey next in line

Brent Sass of Eureka is leading the way to the Safety checkpoint with five-time defending Iditarod champion Dallas Seavey trailing about 20 miles behind him.

Both mushers left White Mountain on Monday evening after their mandatory final rest — Sass at 7:05 p.m. and Seavey at 9:42 p.m. Official race standings show that Sass dropped one dog and was down to 11 as he left White Mountain. Seavey dropped two dogs and is running to Safety with eight, the standings show.

In the absence of some unforeseen obstacle, Sass is expected to pull into Nome first sometime early Tuesday morning. It is unlikely that Seavey would be able to make up the approximately 20 miles of distance between them in the miles they have left.

The next top five mushers have made it to Elim, and the rest are scattered across several checkpoints.

March 14 - 8 p.m.

Sass’ last break complete, headed for Nome

Brent Sass left White Mountain the same way he has left each of the last nine checkpoints along the Iditarod trail: in the lead. Sass arrived at the White Mountain checkpoint to the sound of church bells and departed the moment his mandatory 8-hour break was complete. Sass took off from White Mountain with 11 dogs at 7:05 p.m. with just 77 miles and one checkpoint to go before he and his dog team arrive in Nome.

Sass arrived in White Mountain 2 hours and 37 minutes ahead of Seavey, as he’s maintained a distance of 15-20 miles between his closest competitor for much of the second half of the race. It would take an unforeseen obstacle or minor catastrophe for Seavey to make up over two and a half hours over the course of just 77 miles.

At the front of the pack since Cripple, Sass and Seavey are a full checkpoint ahead of most of their remaining mushers. According to the Iditarod GPS tracker, Jessie Holmes, Dan Kaduce, and Richie Diehl are approaching the Elim checkpoint. Kaduce is the only musher in the race who has retained all 14 of the dogs on his line that he started with.

March 14 - 4 p.m.

Sass, Seavey address standings while at White Mountain checkpoint

Iditarod frontrunners Brent Sass and Dallas Seavey addressed their standings in the race during their mandatory 8-hour rests at the White Mountain checkpoint.

“We stuck to our game plan and ran our own race and we weren’t worried about anybody else around us,” said Sass, who has a 2-hour and 37-minute lead over the second-place Seavey.

Sass said last night he did start thinking about the five-time Iditarod winner and “not wanting him to catch me.”

Sass checked in at White Mountain at 11:05 a.m., with Seavey arriving at 1:42 p.m.

Seavey did not mince words when asked, “Can you win this race?”

“No,” Seavey said. “I mean, unless something goes wrong, I don’t think so. I haven’t looked at the time but isn’t he like three hours ahead?”

Seavey said he felt he’s run a “hell of a race” with his team, despite dealing with dogs that experienced “sickness.”

“We’ve got a pretty solid lead over third,” he said with a laugh.

If he can maintain his lead, this would be Sass’ first Iditarod victory. Seavey, meanwhile, is chasing a record sixth championship.

March 14 - 11:30 a.m.

Sass reaches White Mountain checkpoint

Brent Sass reached the White Mountain Checkpoint on Monday morning, checking in at 11:05 a.m., and is now less than 80 miles from the finish line in Nome.

Dallas Seavey is running in second and is about 20 miles behind Sass.

Sass and Seavey have a considerable lead over the rest of the mushers. No other musher has reached the Koyuk checkpoint, which is 171 miles from the finish line, as of 11:30 a.m.

Mushers and their teams are required to take an eight-hour rest at the White Mountain checkpoint.

By being the first to reach White Mountain, Sass won the Northrim Bank Achieve More Award. Sass gets a $2,500 check and a trophy that stays at Iditarod headquarters year-round.

The award will be re-presented to Sass at the finishers banquet in Nome on March 20.

March 14 - 8:20 a.m.

Sass out of Elim with Seavey in tow

Brent Sass is a little over 100 miles from the finish line in Nome with his first Iditarod win in his sights, but he has to hold off five-time champion Dallas Seavey to do it.

With 12 dogs in harness, Sass whizzed through the checkpoint of Elim Monday morning, getting in and out in five minutes. The Eureka musher left Elim at 5:17 a.m. with Seavey about 15 miles behind him. Seavey departed Elim, the third-to-last checkpoint of the race, at 7:39 a.m. Monday with 10 dogs in harness.

Sass has come close to Iditarod glory before, with a fourth-place finish in 2020 and a third-place result last year.

Behind the leading duo, a pack of five race teams are battling for third place. Aaron Peck of Grand Prairie, Alberta, sits third, with Anchorage’s Chad Stoddard, Nome’s Aaron Burmeister, Aniak’s Richie Diehl and Chatanika’s Dan Kaduce all chasing.

Fairbanks musher scratches

The fifth musher of the race scratched Sunday in Galena. Fairbanks racer Joshua McNeal called an end to his race at 8:05 p.m., after reaching Galena at 12:09 p.m. Sunday. Iditarod officials say McNeal made the decision in the “best interest of his race team.” McNeal had 10 dogs in harness, and joins Hugh Neff, Julie Ahnen, Ryne Olson and Anja Radano on the scratch list for the 2022 race.

MusherCheckpointInOut
1. Brent SassElim5:12 a.m. Mon5:17 a.m. Mon
2. Dallas SeaveyElim7:32 a.m. Mon7:39 a.m. Mon
3. Aaron PeckShaktoolik5:31 a.m. Mon5:38 a.m. Mon
4. Chad StoddardShaktoolik1:50 a.m. Mon5:58 a.m. Mon
5. Aaron BurmeisterShaktoolik7:23 a.m. Sun6:55 a.m. Mon

March 13 - 6:17 p.m.

Leaders under 200 miles to Nome

Brent Sass is approaching Koyuk, only two miles away after traversing the sometimes dangerous sea ice of the Norton Sound. Second place musher Dallas Seavey is maintaining pace just 20 miles behind Sass as the pair prepare for the home stretch of the Iditarod along the southern edge of the Seward Peninsula, according to the Iditarod GPS tracker. Sass left Shaktoolik less than two hours ahead of Seavey. Sass left the Shaktoolik checkpoint at 9:18 a.m. and Seavey was right behind him, leaving at 11:04 a.m. for the Norton Bay sea ice.

“It’s not really that cold, to be honest with you. I mean it’s windy, but it’s not really that cold,” Sass told Iditarod.com on the Norton Bay ice.

The three mushers chasing Sass and Seavey are out of Unalakleet and headed for Shaktoolik, led by Aaron Burmeister with eight dogs. Richie Diehl is just three miles behind Burmeister with 11 dogs and Jessie Holmes is 12 miles behind Diehl. The mushers in places 6-13 have all arrived in Unalakleet, but have yet to leave. Sixth place musher Dan Kaduce is the only musher in the race to have all 14 dogs he started with still on his line.

Along the Yukon River, Apayauq Reitan and Yuka Honda remain in Ruby while rookie Kailyn Davis and Lisbet Norris are headed to Ruby from Cripple. Another 10 mushers have departed Kaltag for Unalakleet, six mushers remain in Nulato and seven mushers are at the Galena checkpoint.

March 13 - 10:21 a.m.

Sass speeds up the Norton Sound coast

Brent Sass has led the Iditarod for over 330 consecutive miles, and won another award late Saturday night as the first musher to lead his team into Unalakleet on the Norton Sound Coast. For arriving at the checkpoint first, Sass won the Ryan Air Gold Coast Award of an ounce of gold and supplies from Ryan Air. Sass then sped to and through the Shaktoolik checkpoint, and is currently mushing toward Koyuk. Sass still only leads five-time Iditarod champion Dallas Seavey by 14 miles, according to the Iditarod GPS tracker.

Sass checked in to Unalakleet at 11:32 p.m. Saturday night and spent just eight minutes at the checkpoint before he was back on the trail, according to the Iditarod standings. Sass then arrived at Shaktoolik at 9:10 a.m. and spent another eight minutes there before he was gone again. In his pursuit of the 2022 Iditarod title, Sass has spent less than 10 minutes in 13 of the 16 checkpoints along the trail thus far, opting to give his dogs more breaks along the trail that in checkpoints. The 12 dogs still on Sass’ line are more than any other musher in the top five.

Of the mushers chasing Sass and Seavey, only Aaron Burmeister and his team have reached Unalakleet, as the 14 mushers trailing Burmeister are all on the 85-mile stretch of Iditarod Trail between Kaltag and Unalakleet, but have yet to reach the Norton Sound coast. According to the Iditarod GPS tracker, Burmeister’s team reached the Unalakleet checkpoint at approximately 10:15 a.m. Burmeister is followed by Jessie Holmes 19 miles behind — who is racing — and Richie Diehl two miles behind Holmes who is resting.

MusherDogsCheckpointArrivedDepartedMiles to NomeStatus
1. Brent Sass12Shaktoolik3/13 9:10 a.m.3/13 9:18 a.m.213Racing
2. Dallas Seavey10Unalakleet3/13 1:22 a.m.3/13 5:38 a.m.227Racing
3. Aaron Burmeister9Unalakleet3/13 10:15 a.m.N/A261Racing
4. Jessie Holmes11Kaltag3/12 4:12 p.m.3/12 9:28 p.m.281Racing
5. Richie Diehl11Kaltag3/12 5:50 p.m.3/12 10:59 p.m.283Resting

March 12 - 6:14 p.m.

Sass, Seavey rest dog teams along Iditarod Trail

Iditarod race leader Brent Sass is resting his team 40 miles out from the Unalakleet checkpoint, maintaining a 20-mile lead on five-time champion Dallas Seavey’s dog team, who is also resting. The pair of mushers have distanced themselves from much of the rest of the chase pack.

Seavey left the Kaltag checkpoint at 12:44 p.m. and ran his team for 37 miles before stopping to rest. Only two other musher — Jessie Holmes and Richie Diehl — has checked into Kaltag. Holmes has not yet left the checkpoint, and five other mushers are en route to Kaltag from Nulato.

Sass stopped over just after 5 p.m. along the trail to rest with just 299 miles between his team and Nome. Seavey’s chose to give his dogs a rest just after 4 p.m.

As the strategy of mushers deciding when to rest dogs and how many dogs they should keep on their line becomes more important, 7th place Mille Porsild and 9th place Chad Stoddard lead the top 10 with 13 dogs still leading their sleds. Aaron Burmeister — running in 4th place — and 8th place Mitch Seavey both have just nine dogs running ahead of their sleds.

Ryan Redington and Burmeister lead the group headed for Kaltag, and will arrive at the last checkpoint along the Yukon River shortly.

March 12 - 3:22 p.m.

Iditarod leaders headed for Norton Sound

Brent Sass has been leading the Iditarod for the last 239 miles and is just over 300 miles from Nome. Sass finished the last of his mandatory breaks with an 8-hour stop in Kaltag before leaving with 12 dogs Saturday morning headed for the Norton Sound at the Unalakleet checkpoint, according to the Iditarod standings. According to the Iditarod GPS tracker, Sass has a 16-mile lead on his closest competitor, five-time Iditarod champion Dallas Seavey. Seavey stopped briefly in Kaltag and got back on the trail to chase Sass with 10 dogs on his line, and maintains a 33-mile lead on 3rd place musher Jessie Holmes. All of the top eight mushers have completed both their 24-hour and 8-hour breaks as the majority of the chase pack comes to the end of their run along the Yukon River.

All results below are from 3:22 p.m. according to the Iditarod GPS tracker and Iditarod standings.

MusherDogsCheckpointArrivedDepartedMiles to Nome
1. Brent Sass12Kaltag2:36 a.m.10:36 a.m.309
2. Dallas Seavey10Kaltag12:35 p.m.12:44 p.m.325
3. Jessie Holmes11Nulato8:10 a.m.11:56 a.m.358
4. Richie Diehl11Nulato9:38 a.m.1:30 p.m.376
5. Aaron Burmeister9Nulato10:06 a.m.10:15 a.m.377
6. Ryan Redington10Nulato10:09 a.m.1:48 p.m.379
7. Mille Porsild13Nulato11:48 a.m.N/A393
8. Mitch Seavey9Nulato11:52 a.m.N/A393
9. Chad Stoddard13Nulato12:20 p.m.N/A393
10. Peter Kaiser11Nulato12:34 p.m.N/A393

Aaron Burmeister, Jessie Holmes, Richie Diehl and Ryan Redington all checked into and out of Nulato early this afternoon. Another six mushers have reached Nulato, but not yet left. Mushers in places 13-24 have reached the Galena checkpoint.

Joar Leifseth Ulsom has a conglomerate of dogs running this year's race from different mushers.

March 12 - 10:04 a.m.

Marathon becomes sprint after Sass, Seavey finish layovers

Brent Sass maintained the Iditarod he’s held since the Cripple checkpoint and was the first musher to arrive in Kaltag at 2:36 a.m. Saturday morning. Sass won the First Fish Award of $2,000 and 25 pounds of salmon from the Bristol Bay Native Corporation as the first musher in Kaltag.

Sass appears to be taking his 8-hour break in Kaltag, the last mandatory layover he has yet to complete. Second-place musher Dallas Seavey arrived in Nulato at 12:32 a.m. and took his 8-hour break, according to the Iditarod standings.

Sass was among the last mushers to take their 8-hour break. Mushers in places 3-8 have completed both their 8-hour and 24-hour mandatory layovers, and all of the top 20 mushers have completed their breaks except Sass, Chad Stoddard in 9th place and Matt Hall in 15th.

Sass maintains a 32-mile lead on Seavey and Seavey has a 15-mile lead on Jessie Holmes and Richie Diehl, both of whom have arrived in Nulato according to the Iditarod GPS tracker. The top 13 mushers are positioned between Galena and Kaltag, separated by just 84 miles.

Once Sass has finished his 8-hour layover at 10:36 a.m., he will then lead his dogs toward the Bering Sea Coast on the longest leg between checkpoints on the Iditarod Trail, an 85 mile trek from Kaltag to Unalakleet. Sass and Seavey are the only two mushers to have led their teams out of Nulato. Holmes and Diehl — currently resting in Nulato — are closely followed by Aaron Burmeister and Ryan Redington.

If Sass can beat Seavey and the rest of the chase pack to the Bering Sea coast, he will win the Ryan Air Gold Coast Award of $1,000 in gold nuggets and a carved ivory sled dog team.

The top six mushers all have less than 400 miles between their dog teams and the burled arch in Nome.

March 11 - 9:42 p.m.

Sizeable chase pack heads for Galena as Sass closes in on Nulato

A chase pack of at least six mushers has left the Ruby checkpoint with the teams on their way to Galena, trailing behind Brent Sass and Dallas Seavey who are still the first two leading into Nulato.

Sass, who left the Galena checkpoint first just before noon Friday after only a 4-minute stay, was only about 2 miles out from Nulato on Friday night, according to the race’s GPS tracker. Seavey, the five-time defending champion, arrived in Galena at 6:31 p.m. Friday and, like Sass, only stayed 4 minutes before racing on.

Mushers from the chase pack — Jessie Holmes, Richie Diehl, Ryan Redington, Aaron Burmeister, Travis Beals and Michelle Phillips — all took their 8-hour rest at the Ruby checkpoint before departing. The GPS tracker showed that group on the trail to Galena on Friday night with Holmes in the lead.

Neither Sass nor Seavey have taken their mandatory 8-hour rest yet, after having already completed the required 24-hour layover.

Alaska’s News Source Sports Director Jorden Rodenberger recently caught up with Lisbet Norris in McGrath to hear about her all-Siberian husky team — the only such team in this year’s Iditarod.

March 11 - 8 p.m.

Chase pack leaves Ruby

While Brent Sass and Dallas Seavey are the first mushers to get their teams through the Galena checkpoint, neither have taken their mandatory 8-hour break. However, every one of the mushers that left the Ruby checkpoint on Friday night has already taken both their 24-hour and 8-hour breaks.

As of 8 p.m. Friday, Sass was 12 miles away from arriving at the Nulato checkpoint, with Seavey just 19 miles behind on the Iditarod Trail between Galena and Nulato.

Seavey is approximately 38 miles ahead of the third place musher Jessie Holmes, but the chase pack of Holmes, Richie Diehl, Ryan Redington and Aaron Burmeister can keep mushing without any more mandatory breaks while Sass and Seavey must take their eight-hour breaks somewhere along the remaining 400-plus miles to Nome.

Mushers in places seven through 16 have all arrived at the Ruby checkpoint along the Yukon River, and the rest of the chase pack are ostensibly taking their eight-hour layovers currently, waiting for the time to be up so they can join the rest of the chase pack in pursuit of Sass and Seavey. The mushers in places 17-29 have departed Cripple headed for Ruby.

March 11 - 5:27 p.m.

Julie Ahnen becomes third musher to scratch from Iditarod

An Iditarod spokesperson announced that rookie Julie Ahnen of Cantwell scratched at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, becoming the third musher to withdraw their dog team from the race. Mushers Anja Radano and Ryne Olson had also previously scratched from the race.

Ahnen trains with Jessie Holmes’ team, and raced his dogs along the Denali Highway, according to her Iditarod bio. Ahnen described running the Iditarod as the “ultimate dream.”

Ahnen was running in 44th place. Ahnen dropped a dog from her team at the Skwentna checkpoint, and then dropped two dogs at Rohn.

The top two mushers rested near Galena until late Friday afternoon. Race leader Brent Sass spent just four minutes at the checkpoint along the Yukon River, departing for Nulato at 11:54 a.m. on Friday. Dallas Seavey is currently in second place and has yet to check in to Galena. Seavey rested about 15 miles from the checkpoint for much of Friday afternoon.

Both Sass and Seavey have returned to racing on the Iditarod Trail as of 5 p.m. Friday with a large distance between the two and the rest of the teams, according to the Iditarod GPS tracker. No other mushers have left Ruby and headed for Galena yet. Sass has a 20-mile lead on Seavey and Seavey has a 37-mile lead on the 12 mushers currently resting in Ruby.

Every musher except for Jeff King has taken their 24-hour mandatory break, but none have yet to take their eight-hour break.

MusherDogsCheckpointArrivedDeparted
1. Brent Sass13Galena11:50 a.m.11:54 a.m.
2. Dallas Seavey12Ruby9:01 a.m.9:08 a.m.
3. Hugh Neff11Ruby8:16 a.m.N/A
4. Jessie Holmes14Ruby9:36 a.m.N/A
5. Richie Diehl11Ruby9:46 a.m.N/A
6. Ryan Redington12Ruby10:19 a.m.N/A
7. Aaron Burmeister10Ruby10:27 a.m.N/A
8. Mitch Seavey11Ruby11:45 a.m.N/A
9. Mille Porsild13Ruby12:07 p.m.N/A
10. Travis Beals12Ruby1:01 p.m.N/A

March 11 - 12:05 p.m.

Sass speeds through Galena, Dallas Seavey closest behind

Brent Sass continued leading the Iditarod, as he has done for the last three checkpoints, arriving first to Galena at 11:50 a.m. and departing just four minutes later. Sass was the first musher to get his team to the Yukon River when he arrived in Ruby at 5:57 a.m. this morning, declining his five-course meal and promptly getting back on the trail.

Race leader Brent Sass checked into Ruby at 6 a.m., followed three hours later by Dallas Seavey. Both mushers departed succinctly on their way to Galena.

“Somebody else gets to have it I guess,” Sass told Iditarod race officials in Ruby. “... I wish I could stay but my schedule doesn’t allow it.”

Dallas Seavey — the defending and five-time Iditarod champion — was next to arrive at the Yukon River at 9:08 a.m. So far, seven mushers have checked in to Ruby and only Sass and Seavey have hit the Iditarod Trail headed for Galena. Sass has just 430 miles between his team and Nome, and has already taken his mandatory 24-hour layover. Seavey is just 26 miles behind Sass. However, there are no mushers who have taken their eight-hour layover yet.

Sass and Seavey were followed by Hugh Neff, Jessie Holmes, and Richie Diehl, Ryan Redington and Aaron Burmeister. Mushers in places 8-25 have left Cripple. Mushers have two checkpoints — and just 169 miles until they reach the coast of the Bering Sea in Unalakleet.

Follow Alaska’s Sports Source Director Jordan Rodenberger’s coverage from the trail below.

March 11 - 8:24 a.m.

Sass first to Ruby, claims 5-course gourmet meal as first musher to Yukon River

Eureka’s Brent Sass arrived in Ruby at 5:57 a.m. Friday morning with 13 dogs in harness to claim the “Lakefront Anchorage First Musher to the Yukon Award”, according to a release from Iditarod officials.

It took Sass over 13 hours to make the 70-mile stretch from Cripple to Ruby, but was rewarded with a five-course gourmet meal prepared by Lakefront Anchorage executive chef Mark Castillo, according to the release.

The meal consists of pan-seared blackened shrimp served with mango chutney and cucumber for an appetizer, a reindeer minestrone soup with crostini bread, an iceberg wedge lettuce salad with bacon, apple, blue cheese crumbles and dried cranberries, an eight-ounce seared beef tenderloin wrapped in bacon with sides of asparagus, baby carrots, fingerling potatoes and a red wine mushroom sauce, and to top it all off, a dessert consisting of a trio cheesecake bar with strawberry sauce.

The meal is topped off with an “after dinner mint” of $3,500 in one-dollar bills, along with a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne, according to Iditarod officials.

Eureka musher Brent Sass passes through the checkpoint of Ruby, March 11, 2022.
Eureka musher Brent Sass passes through the checkpoint of Ruby, March 11, 2022.(Alaska's News Source)

Sass, however, did not enjoy the meal in Ruby, as he whisked through the checkpoint in five minutes, leaving at 6:02 a.m. Iditarod officials say the meal will be re-presented at a later time. The Ruby checkpoint is closest to the true halfway marker of the near-1,000 mile race; 495 miles from Anchorage and 480 from Nome.

Like most of the top runners in the race, Sass has taken his mandatory 24-hour layover and is in position to make a solid run at victory. In five previous starts in the Last Great Race, Sass has two top-five results, including a career-best of third last year.

The rest of the top five followed Sass into Ruby, with Hugh Neff arriving at 8:16 a.m., Dallas Seavey at 9:01 a.m., Jessie Holmes at 9:36 a.m. and Richie Diehl at 9:46 a.m. Of the top five, only Seavey has continued on in chase of Sass, spending only seven minutes in Ruby to take over the second-place spot.

March 10 - 9:35 p.m.

Race leaders are on the trail to Ruby

Brent Sass of Eureka remains in the lead of a pack of top contenders on the trail to the Ruby checkpoint, after having left the halfway point at Cripple on Thursday afternoon.

Sass was followed out of Cripple, official standings show, by Richie Diehl, Jessie Holmes, Dallas Seavey and Hugh Neff.

MusherCheckpointInOutRest at Cripple
Brent SassCripple3/9 — 3:50 p.m.3/10 — 4:36 p.m.24h 46m
Richie DiehlCripple3/10 — 5:57 p.m.3/10 — 6:06 p.m.0h 9m
Jessie HolmesCripple3/10 — 7:29 p.m.3/10 — 7:41 p.m.0h 12m
Dallas SeaveyCripple3/9 — 6:53 p.m.3/10 — 7:53 p.m.25h 0m
Hugh NeffCripple3/9 — 8:41 p.m.3/10 — 8:44 p.m.24h 3m

Diehl and Holmes had already taken their mandatory 24-hour layovers in a previous checkpoint and were able to breeze through Cripple, stopping for only a few minutes each.

Sass, Seavey and Neff all took their 24-hour rests at the halfway point of this year’s race on the northern route.

March 10 - 7:22 p.m.

Sass extends lead as first out of Cripple, Diehl follows

Veteran Eureka musher Brent Sass took the lead on Thursday night as he and his team left Cripple at 4:36 p.m., headed 70 miles toward Ruby. Sass was followed by Richie Diehl, who breezed through Cripple and almost immediately departed the checkpoint at 6:06 p.m. — just nine minutes after he arrived. Diehl had already completed his 24-hour layover at Ophir.

Diehl was followed by Aaron Burmeister at 6:03 p.m., who remains in Cripple. The group of Dallas Seavey, Hugh Neff, Ryan Redington and Mitch Seavey are finishing up their 24-hour layovers in Cripple and will likely depart for Ruby soon behind Diehl and Sass, according to Iditarod standings.

Jessie Holmes and Travis Beals were just two miles outside of Cripple on Thursday evening, according to the Iditarod GPS tracker. Along the trail between Ophir an Cripple, mushers and their dog sled teams officially pass the halfway point of the 975-mile northern route of the Iditarod Trail.

Standings show that mushers 8-33 have departed Ophir headed for Cripple, with three dog teams and their mushers remaining at the Ophir checkpoint. There are four teams headed to Ophir from McGrath and another eight teams that have yet to leave McGrath.

March 10 - 6:50 p.m.

Ryne Olson becomes second musher to scratch

Ryne Olson of Two Rivers became the second musher to scratch from the 2022 Iditarod on Thursday. A veteran musher, Olson scratched at 5:02 p.m. at the McGrath checkpoint.

“Olson made the decision to scratch in the best interest of her team,” an Iditarod spokesperson said in an email. “Olson had nine dogs in harness at the time she made the decision to scratch.”

Anja Radano of Talkeetna was the first musher to scratch from this year’s race when she decided to withdraw on Wednesday.

March 10 - 1:49 p.m.

Chase pack of mushers have all taken 24-hour breaks

MusherCheckpointIn24 hour restDogs
1. Brent SassCripple3/9 3:50 p.m.No13
2. Dallas SeaveyCripple3/9 4:53 p.m.No12
3. Hugh NeffCripple3/9 8:41 p.m.No13
4. Ryan RedingtonCripple3/9 10:07 p.m.No13
5. Mitch SeaveyCripple3/19 10:59 p.m.No12

The Iditarod standings remain unchanged from this morning, and all 48 remaining sled dog teams in the race are located in the 114 miles between the McGrath and Cripple, where race leader Brent Sass and the top five mushers are resting.

However, strategy begins to play out near the midway point of the race as the teams in places 6-16 have already taken their mandatory 24-hour breaks, including Aaron Burmeister who was the first musher to check in to McGrath. Dallas Seavey has declared that he’s taking his 24-hour layover in Cripple.

The 73 mile long leg of the race between Ophir and Cripple is the third longest checkpoint along the northern route. The 25 mushers trailing the top five have all checked into Ophir. According to the GPS tracker, the lead dogs of the chase pack are over halfway to Cripple.

MusherCheckpointOut24 hour restDogsStatus
6. Jessie HolmesOphir3/10 6:07 a.m.Yes14Resting
7. Pete KaiserOphir3/10 7:01 a.m.Yes13Racing
8. Richie DiehlOphir3/10 2:27 a.m.Yes12Resting
9. Aaron BurmeisterOphir3/10 3:14 a.m.Yes11Racing
10. Mille PorsildOphir3/10 4:01 a.m.Yes13Resting

The record along the northern route — utilized in even years — was set by Dallas Seavey in 2016 with a time of eight days, 11 hours, 20 minutes and 16 seconds. The fastest time recorded along the southern route was set by Mitch Seavey in 2017 in eight days, 3:40:13.

Sled dog teams in places 33-48 have gotten to McGrath, and Martin Buser and Karin Hendrickson’s teams have both left McGrath. Anja Radano is the only musher to scratch thus far this year.

March 10 - 8:17 a.m.

Top 5 teams resting at halfway point of race in Cripple

The top five mushers are taking lengthy breaks in Cripple, the halfway point of the 2022 Iditarod, which is utilizing the northern route. The northern route is traditionally used in even-numbered years, and Cripple sits 425 miles into the event, with 550 to go.

Brent Sass, who is chasing his first win in the Last Great Race, reached Cripple Wednesday afternoon first to collect the halfway prize of either $3,000 in gold nuggets or a smartphone with a year of free GCI mobile service.

Defending race winner Dallas Seavey was second into Cripple on Wednesday, about three hours behind Sass, and has declared that he will be taking his 24-hour layover there. Hugh Neff, Ryan Redington and Mitch Seavey have also made it into Cripple.

Other mushers in the top 10 that have completed their 24-hour layovers include Richie Diehl in sixth, Aaron Burmeister in seventh, Mille Porsild in eighth and Jessie Holmes in 10th. All four mushers are currently on the 73-mile stretch between Ophir and Cripple.

NameCheckpointInOut
1. Brent SassCripple3:50 p.m. Wed
2. Dallas SeaveyCripple6:53 p.m. Wed
3. Hugh NeffCripple8:41 p.m. Wed
4. Ryan RedingtonCripple10:07 p.m. Wed
5. Mitch SeaveyCripple10:59 p.m. Wed
6. Richie DiehlOphir1:23 a.m. Wed2:27 a.m. Thurs
7. Aaron BurmeisterOphir11:55 p.m. Wed3:14 a.m. Thurs
8. Mille PorsildOphir3:17 a.m. Wed4:01 a.m. Thurs
9. Travis BealsOphir5:15 a.m. Wed5:31 a.m. Thurs
10. Jessie HolmesOphir4:41 a.m. Wed6:07 a.m. Thurs

March 9 - 10:48 p.m.

Talkeetna musher is first to scratch from race

Anja Radano is first musher to scratch from this year’s Iditarod. According to a Wednesday night press release, Radano, of Talkeetna, scratched at 9 p.m. at the Nikolai checkpoint.

“Radano made the decision to scratch in the best interest of her race team,” the release said.

She had 12 dogs with her at the time she decided to scratch.

March 9 - 9:50 p.m.

3 leaders make it to Cripple; Seavey declares his 24-hour rest

Three mushers have checked in at Cripple, the official halfway point of this year’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Brent Sass of Eureka was the first one there at 3:50 p.m. on Wednesday, followed by defending champion Dallas Seavey at 6:53 p.m.

Official race standings also show Hugh Neff checked in at Cripple at 8:41 p.m. Online GPS tracking showed Ryan Redington closing in to the checkpoint, just about 2 miles out on Wednesday evening.

The race’s top contenders have been leapfrogging over the last few legs, and several mushers have started opting to take their required 24-hour layover. Seavey told Iditarod Insider that he will take his 24-hour rest at the Cripple checkpoint.

Three mushers have already completed their mandatory 24-hour layover — Aaron Burmeister who took it at McGrath, as well as Matthew Failor and Ryne Olson.

March 9 - 4:15 p.m.

Brent Sass is first to Cripple checkpoint, with Seavey in pursuit

Musher Brent Sass of Eureka was the first to reach the Cripple checkpoint of the 50th Iditarod on Wednesday afternoon, making his the first team to reach the halfway point of the race.

Official standings show Sass pulled into Cripple at 3:50 p.m., with five-time defending champion Dallas Seavey about 20 miles behind and the next closest musher. Cripple is the official halfway point for the northern route of the race, which is being used this year.

Sass was also the first to reach the checkpoint in 2020. He pulled in on Wednesday with 13 dogs in harness, making the run between checkpoints in 11 hours, 43 minutes. According to a press release, Sass has won the Dorothy G. Page Halfway Award. As a prize, he has the choice between either $3,000 in gold nuggets or a smartphone with a year of free GCI mobile service.

Sass and Seavey are pursued by a group of top contenders. GPS tracking of the race Wednesday afternoon showed Hugh Neff about 10 miles behind Seavey, while Ryan Redington and Mitch Seavey were also on the trail from Ophir to Cripple.

Dog teams rested on a mellow day at the McGrath checkpoint of the Iditarod on Wednesday, March...
Dog teams rested on a mellow day at the McGrath checkpoint of the Iditarod on Wednesday, March 9, 2022 as several teams opted to take their 24-hour layovers there.(Jordan Rodenberger/Alaska's News Source)

Meanwhile, several teams have opted to take their 24-hour layover. Some of them, like Aaron Burmeister, are taking that layover in McGrath, while others are taking it in Ophir.

March 9 - 8:15 a.m.

Seavey leads trio of mushers out of Ophir

Five-time and defending champion Dallas Seavey was first out of Ophir early Wednesday morning as he pursues a record-breaking sixth Iditarod title. Seavey left Ophir at 3:49 a.m. Wednesday after a quick stop and was followed by Brent Sass, who left the checkpoint just 18 minutes later. Sass was first to Ophir but spent over four hours resting his dogs, allowing Seavey to catch and pass him.

Sass is looking for his first win in the Last Great Race, after a career-best finish of third last year in his fifth Iditarod start.

GPS tracking of the race shows Seavey stopping Wednesday morning to break on the trail just past 5 a.m., allowing Sass to retake the lead. Keep in mind, however, that no musher has taken their two layovers, an eight-hour and a 24-hour break, so it remains to be seen who truly holds the keys to victory.

The top five mushers in the race have all come and gone through Ophir — the checkpoint that begins the northern route of the Iditarod trail at 352 miles into the race — with Ryan Redington, Mitch Seavey and Hugh Neff all making short stops.

The rest of the top 10 — Richie Diehl, Mille Porsild, Jessie Holmes, Paige Drobny and Michelle Phillips — are all taking longer breaks in Ophir after arriving between 1:23 a.m. and 4:53 a.m. Wednesday. Travis Beals and Aaron Peck are also in Ophir, running 11th and 12th, respectively.

NameCheckpointInOut
1. Dallas SeaveyOphir3:42 a.m. Wed3:49 a.m. Wed
2. Brent SassOphir11:48 p.m. Tues4:07 a.m. Wed
3. Ryan RedingtonOphir4:16 a.m. Wed4:36 a.m. Wed
4. Mitch SeaveyOphir5:34 a.m. Wed5:50 a.m. Wed
5. Hugh NeffOphir5:14 a.m. Wed5:59 a.m. Wed
6. Richie DiehlOphir1:23 a.m. Wed
7. Mille PorsildOphir3:17 a.m. Wed
8. Jessie HolmesOphir4:41 a.m. Wed
9. Paige DrobnyOphir4:43 a.m. Wed
10. Michelle PhillipsOphir4:53 a.m. Wed
GPS tracking shows Brent Sass in the lead of the Iditarod on March 9, 2022.
GPS tracking shows Brent Sass in the lead of the Iditarod on March 9, 2022.(Screenshot from Iditarod.com)

March 8 - 10:06 p.m.

Sass, Diehl lead out of McGrath

Mushers Brent Sass and Richie Diehl were the first two to depart the McGrath checkpoint of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday evening, official race standings show.

Both pulled into McGrath behind Aaron Burmeister — Diehl at 6:26 p.m. and Sass at 8:56 p.m. But Diehl spent just 2 hours resting at McGrath and Sass left the checkpoint first after just 4 minutes, making them the first two mushers to move on.

As of 10 p.m. Tuesday, Burmeister was still resting at McGrath along with other top contenders Ryan Redington and Dallas Seavey. A total of 14 teams had made it as far as McGrath on Tuesday night.

March 8 - 6:12 p.m.

Burmeister is first musher to arrive at McGrath checkpoint

Aaron Burmeister was the first musher to pull into the community of McGrath on Tuesday evening on the third day of the 50th running of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

He arrived at 5:41 p.m. with 13 dogs, according to official race standings, making about a 6 hour run from the Nikolai checkpoint, which he left this morning. Burmeister leads a pack of race contenders including Ryan Redington, Richie Diehl and five-time defending champion Dallas Seavey heading into McGrath.

Musher Aaron Burmeister was the first to pull into the McGrath checkpoint of the Iditarod on...
Musher Aaron Burmeister was the first to pull into the McGrath checkpoint of the Iditarod on Tuesday, March 8, 2022. He was awarded handmade mittens and a hat for being the first team to the checkpoint, sponsored by Alaska Air Transit.(Tracy Sabo/Alaska's News Source)

In arriving first at McGrath, Burmeister won the Alaska Air Transit Spirit of Iditarod Award. He was presented with several handmade prizes including musher mitts.

Thus far, all mushers have made it to either Rohn or Nikolai, and there have been no scratches.

March 8 - 4:24 p.m.

Burmeister leads heading to McGrath; 28 teams make it to Nikolai

Musher Aaron Burmeister is at the front of a group of leaders heading out of Nikolai and into the McGrath checkpoint, according to official race standings and the Iditarod’s GPS tracker on Tuesday afternoon.

Just over 300 miles into the race, the next checkpoint is located along the Kuskokwim River in the small community of McGrath.

A welcoming sign at the Nikolai checkpoint along the Iditarod Trail on Tuesday, March 8, 2022.
A welcoming sign at the Nikolai checkpoint along the Iditarod Trail on Tuesday, March 8, 2022.(Tracy Sabo/Alaska's News Source)

In all, 28 teams had made it to Nikolai by Tuesday afternoon, 14 of which have also departed. Burmeister was the first into Nikolai, while Brent Sass was the first to take off from the checkpoint at 9:20 a.m. Burmeister has since regained the lead of the pack of teams heading into McGrath.

The rest of this year’s 49 teams have made it to the Rohn checkpoint. There have not been any scratches yet in the first three days of the race.

March 8 - 4:18 p.m.

Behind the scenes

Here is a behind-the-scenes look at the Alaska’s News Source team on the way to Nikolai:

March 8 - 11:32 a.m.

Sass takes over leading spot out of Nikolai with both layovers still to come

Iditarod veteran Brent Sass was the first to leave Nikolai after Aaron Burmeister reached the checkpoint earlier Tuesday morning. Sass reached Nikolai about 1 1/2 hours after Burmeister but only spent eight minutes there before taking off at 9:20 a.m.

Sass is currently being pursued by five-time and defending champion Dallas Seavey, who left Nikolai eight minutes behind him.

March 8 - 8 a.m.

Burmeister first to Nikolai checkpoint after marathon run from Rohn

Veteran musher Aaron Burmeister arrived in Nikolai at 7:38 a.m. Tuesday, hitting the 263-mile mark of the nearly 1,000-mile marathon with 712 miles to go. Burmeister left the Rohn checkpoint Monday evening at 6:22 p.m., just 23 minutes after then-leader Ryan Redington.

It took the longtime musher a whopping 13 hours, 16 minutes to make the 75-mile stretch from Rohn to Nikolai, where he beat Redington by 33 minutes. Both mushers are the only two so far to have reached Nikolai.

Burmeister, who was born and raised in Nome, was shown by GPS tracking to be leading ahead of Redington and Richie Diehl. Burmeister is a veteran of 20 Iditarod races, starting with his rookie year in 1994, and has seven top-10 results, highlighted by a runner-up finish last year.

Current GPS tracking also showed Michelle Phillips, Dallas Seavey and Mille Porsild in a tight cluster from fourth through sixth between Rohn and Nikolai.

The top 10 is rounded out by Travis Beals, Jessie Holmes, Mitch Seavey and Paige Drobny.

Image capture of GPS tracking in the 2022 Iditarod sled dog race.
Image capture of GPS tracking in the 2022 Iditarod sled dog race.(Courtesy Iditarod.com)

March 7 - 10:02 p.m.

Most mushers through Rainy Pass, several leaders depart Rohn

The majority of mushers in the 50th running of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race are now through the Rainy Pass checkpoint, official race standings showed Monday night. All but five teams had made it from Finger Lake to Rainy Pass, through a tough section of trail heading through the Alaska Range.

A number of leaders had also made it through the Rohn checkpoint, according to the race’s GPS tracker and official standings. Strategies and race leaders are generally unclear in the early days of the race.

NameCheckpointInOut
Ryan RedingtonRohn5:42 p.m.5:59 p.m.
Aaron BurmeisterRohn6 p.m.6:22 p.m.
Richie DiehlRohn7:09 p.m.7:20 p.m.
Mitch SeaveyRohn7:07 p.m.7:33 p.m.
Dallas SeaveyRohn7:32 p.m.7:43 p.m.

March 7 - 6:20 p.m.

Ryan Redington pulls into Rohn checkpoint at front of group leaving Rainy Pass

Musher Ryan Redington checked in at Rohn at 5:42 p.m. on Monday, the first in a group of teams making their way from Rainy Pass. The Rohn checkpoint is near the confluence of the south fork of the Kuskokwim and Tatina Rivers.

According to the Iditarod organization, mushers often decide to take their first 24-hour layover in Rohn. The section of trail leading from Rainy Pass to Rohn crosses a portion of the Alaska Range and is often described as difficult or technical.

Back in Rainy Pass, Redington described a brief encounter with a moose along the trail. As soon as it heard his dogs barking, the moose spun around and started moving away from the team, he told Alaska’s News Source. It took about three quarters of a mile before it moved off the trail.

Also in Rainy Pass, Hugh Neff displayed a photo of the late James Varsos, better known as Hobo Jim, that he’s carrying with him to Nome. Varsos died in October after being diagnosed with end-stage cancer.

Musher Hugh Neff holds up a photo he's carrying to Nome of the late James Varsos, better know...
Musher Hugh Neff holds up a photo he's carrying to Nome of the late James Varsos, better know as Hobo Jim, while at the Rainy Pass checkpoint of the Iditarod on Monday, March 7, 2022.(Tracy Sabo/Alaska's News Source)

Neff said for guys like him, the Iditarod isn’t as much about racing as it is about “being an Alaskan and having fun.”

“I think a lot of people who live in Alaska take it for granted that they live here,” he said. “... Guys like Hobo and I, we’re trying to show others that you better enjoy every day because you’re lucky to be here.”

March 7 - 1:46 p.m.

Dallas Seavey leads group out of Rainy Pass

Dallas Seavey, a five time Iditarod champion chasing his record sixth title, leads a group of five mushers who have departed Rainy Pass. While Seavey was the first to arrive in Rainy Pass and the first to leave, fifth-place musher Michelle Phillips clocked the fastest time from Finger Lake to Rainy Pass at 3 hours and 16 minutes.

NameCheckpointInOut
1. Dallas SeaveyRainy Pass11:39 a.m.11: 44 a.m.
2. Paige DrobnyRainy Pass11:40 a.m.11:48 a.m.
3. Brent SassRainy Pass12:09 p.m.12:13 p.m.
4. Jessie HolmesRainy Pass12:11 p.m.12:18 p.m.
5. Michelle PhillipsRainy Pass12:12 p.m.12:19 p.m.

The top 11 mushers have all checked into Rainy Pass, but just the top five have departed the checkpoint headed for Rohn, which is 35 miles away. There are 32 mushers who have checked into Finger Lake and 15 who have already departed for Rainy Pass. Just six dog sled teams left Skwentna and have yet to arrive in Finger Lake.

March 7 - 11:20 a.m.

Current standings

The current standings have Paige Drobny in the lead as of 10:45 a.m.

NameCheckpointInOut
1. Paige DrobnyFinger Lake4:41 a.m. March 74:44 a.m. March 7
2. Brent SassFinger Lake5:00 a.m. March 75:04 a.m. March 7
3. Jessie HolmesFinger Lake5:21 a.m. March 75:22 a.m. March 7
4. Aaron BurmeisterFinger Lake6:18 a.m. March 76:22 a.m. March 7
5. Mille PorsildFinger Lake7:05 a.m. March 77:08 a.m. March 7
Alaska's News Source Iditarod trail tracker team of Tracy Sabo and Beth Verge join K2/Rust's...
Alaska's News Source Iditarod trail tracker team of Tracy Sabo and Beth Verge join K2/Rust's Flying Service pilot Chris Palm on the way to the Rainy Pass checkpoint.(Alaska's News Source)

March 7 - 8:05 a.m.

Lead teams race through Finger Lake

The top five mushers in the race passed through Finger Lake Monday morning en route to the next checkpoint in Rainy Pass. Leading the charge was Cantwell musher Paige Drobny, a seven-time finisher of the Iditarod with a best career finish of seventh on two occasions.

Drobny hit Finger Lake at 4:41 a.m. and spent just three minutes before heading out. Brent Sass trailed behind by 20 minutes in second place, and Jessie Holmes was third through Finger Lake. Aaron Burmeister and Mille Porsild round out the top five.

Positions six through 10 are rounded out by Richie Diehl, Mitch Seavey, Dallas Seavey, Michelle Phillips and Ryan Redington. All were stationed in Finger Lake as of 8 a.m. Monday.

March 6 - 6:30 p.m.

Pack of mushers arrive at first checkpoint

After the Iditarod restart from Willow Lake, four sled dog teams made it to Yentna, the first checkpoint. All four that made it to Yentna first had single-digit bib numbers, and started ahead of most of the other 49 total mushers in the field.

Of the four mushers who have checked in to Yentna, rookie Martin Massicotte lead the pack, arriving at 5:59 p.m. Massicotte was followed by Page Drobny, Michelle Phillips, and former Iditarod champion Jeff King, who is running Nic Petit’s dog team after Petit scratched due to a positive COVID-19 test.

As the dog teams depart Yentna, the Skwentna checkpoint is 30 miles away, and the Finger Lake checkpoint is 40 miles from Skwentna.

March 6 - 2 p.m.

Mushers depart Willow, head for Nome

The field of 49 mushers began departing from Willow at 2 p.m. on Sunday for the Iditarod restart. This year’s field includes 12 rookies and six former Iditarod champions.

The Iditarod restart will take off from Willow at 2 p.m. today.
The Iditarod restart will take off from Willow at 2 p.m. today.(Jordan Rodenberger)

March 5 - 1:30 p.m.

Mushers now set their sights on Sunday’s official start in Willow

Saturday’s ceremonial start in downtown Anchorage gave fans a chance to see their favorite mushers and dogs up close. The race action officially kicks off Sunday as teams get down to business, starting 2 p.m. Sunday in Willow. From there, it’s 964 miles to the finish line in Nome, where 49 teams — made up of 32 men and 17 women, 13 rookies and racers from five different countries — will attempt to hit 21 checkpoints along the way before crossing under the burled arch.

Race times in recent years have typically taken just over a week. Last year, Dallas Seavey crossed the finish line in 7 days, 14 hours, 8 minutes and 57 seconds.

March 5 - 11:49 a.m.

All Iditarod mushers have left 4th Avenue

Rookie Gerhardt Thiart of Cheboygan Michigan, Karin Hendrickson of Willow, rookie Kailyn Davis of Fairbanks, Travis Beals of Fairbanks, Lisbet Norris of Fairbanks and Sebastien Dos Santos Borges of Chazey-Bons France have all left 4th Avenue in Anchorage.

Joshua McNeal of Fairbanks, Chad Stoddard of Anchorage, rookie Apayauq Reitan of Kaktovik, Matt Paveglio of Anchorage, Yuka Honda of Healy and Hugh Neff of Anchorage — carrying a Ukrainian flag —have all left.

Most of the field of dog teams in the 50th Iditarod are out on the trail in Anchorage for the ceremonial start. Stay up to date with our live blog: https://bit.ly/3pEG8oR

Posted by Alaska's News Source on Saturday, March 5, 2022

March 5 - 11:22 a.m.

Former Iditarod Champions out on the trail

Rookie Bridgett Watkins of Fairbanks, 2019 Iditarod champion and 2022 Kuskokwim 300 winner Pete Kaiser of Bethel, and four-time Iditarod champion Martin Buser of Big Lake have all departed the ceremonial start.

(from left to right) U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, former Iditarod musher DeeDee Jonrowe and...
(from left to right) U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, former Iditarod musher DeeDee Jonrowe and former Iditarod champion Martin Buser pose for a photo before the ceremonial start of the 2022 Iditarod.(Alaska's News Source)

March 5 - 11:15 a.m.

Mushers continue to depart 4th Avenue

Matt Hall from Two Rivers, rookie Amanda Otto from Denali, Mille Porsild from Denmark, Jeff Deeter from Fairbanks and Ryne Olson from Two Rivers are all out on the trail.

March 5 - 11:00 a.m.

Scenes from the ceremonial start of Iditarod

Aaron Peck from Grand Prairie Alberta, rookie Joe Taylor from Fairbanks, Aaron Burmeister from Nome, Kristy Berington from Knik, Deke Naaktgeboren from Fairbanks and Anja Radano from Talkeetna have left.

Brent Sass from Eureka — who has already won two legs of the Yukon Quest and the Copper Basin 300 this winter — is now on the Iditarod trail. Dan Kaduce of Chantanika, Julie Ahnen of Cantwell, and three-time Iditarod winner Mitch Seavey are now on the trail.

March 5 - 10:45 a.m.

Half of the Iditarod mushers are on the trail

Riley Dyche of Fairbanks, Lev Shvarts of Willow, Ryan Redington of Knik, Richie Diehl of Aniak and rookie KattiJo Deeter of Fairbanks have left.

Reigning Iditarod Champion Dallas Seavey has left 4th Avenue and is now on the Iditarod trail. Seavey is a five-time winner in search of a his record-setting sixth title, breaking his tie with fellow five-time champ Rick Swenson.

March 5 - 10:30 a.m.

The 50th Iditarod has begun

Ramey Smith from Willow, Anna Berington from Knik, Matthew Failor from Willow, Mats Pettersson from Kiruna Sweden, and 2018 Iditarod champion Joar Leifseth Ulson from Mo i Rana Norway have all started their Iditarod.

The list of all mushers competing in this year’s Iditarod can be found on their website.

Rookie Hanna Lyrek of Alta Norway has now begun her first Iditarod, joining fellow rookie Sean Williams — the first musher to leave the start — on the trail. Fellow rookie Eric Kelly of Knik followed Lyrek.

March 5 - 10:15 a.m.

The 50th Iditarod has begun

Mushers began leaving downtown headed for Campbell Airstrip at 10 a.m. So far, the first six mushers have departed from the start line on Fourth Avenue.

Mushers that are already on the trail are Sean Williams from Chugiak, Jeff King from Denali Park, Michelle Phillips from Tagish, Yukon Territories, Paige Drobny from Cantwell, Martin Massicotte from St-Tite, Quebec, and Jessie Holmes from Brushkana.

Mushers will continue to get on the trail until noon.

March 5 - 9:15 a.m.

Pre-start festivities underway

Dog teams and mushers are doing last-minute checks and preparations as they head out on the roads in downtown Anchorage this morning. From there, teams will take a route through the University campus and Campbell Creek tract. Heavy snow is also continuing to fall, adding an extra element to the day.

The ceremonial start of #Iditarod2022 is less than an hour away! Here's a look at what's going on in downtown Anchorage...

Posted by Alaska's News Source on Saturday, March 5, 2022

March 5 - 8:51 a.m.

Iditarod weather report from meteorologist Joe Bartosik

Obviously, snow has started in the Anchorage metro area with big, wet flakes. Snow will continue at this rate intensity probably through the start time and into the early afternoon. We will easily see a couple of inches of fresh snow on the ground by race time at 10 a.m. If it continues snowing, which I think we will, 5 inches by mid-afternoon clearly not out of the question.

March 5 - 8:18 a.m.

Anchorage prepares for return of Iditarod ceremonial start

Final preparations continued in downtown Anchorage on Friday for the Iditarod’s ceremonial start.

The signs are in place, along with the fences where fans are expected to line 4th Avenue to watch the 49 sled dog teams pass by them on their way from downtown Anchorage to the Campbell Airstrip. Snow for sled dog teams to race on is the only thing missing, but that’s expected to be in place by the time the festivities start Saturday morning.

Read full story: Anchorage prepares for return of Iditarod ceremonial start

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