Four former champions take on the 2021 Iditarod

 Joar Leifseth Ulsom pauses during the 46th running of the Iditarod. Photo by Mille Porsild.
Joar Leifseth Ulsom pauses during the 46th running of the Iditarod. Photo by Mille Porsild. (KTUU)
Published: Mar. 6, 2021 at 5:24 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The 2021 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race gets underway on Sunday at Deshka Landing and four former champions will be running in this year’s race. The defending Iditarod champion Thomas Waerner won’t be returning due to travel restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The former champions in the 2021 race include Peter Kaiser, Dallas Seavey, Martin Buser, and Joar Leifseth Ulsom. Both Buser and Seavey are chasing their fifth Iditarod victories while Leifseth Ulsom and Kaiser are looking to win the race for a second time. Mushing fans are eager to watch Seavey’s return to the Iditarod after taking a break from the race in 2017 when he took second place.

“I needed a little distance from the Iditarod for a while,” Seavey told Alaska’s News Source in April, “get the bad taste out of my mouth from some past experiences there.”

The four-time champion announced he would return to the race in April and will join forces with his father, Mitch Seavey. Instead of racing against each other, Dallas is taking dogs from his fathers’ team to race with him. The father and son have a combined seven Iditarod wins.

Martin Buser’s fourth Iditarod victory came in 2002 when he finished in a time of 8 days, 22 hours, and 2 seconds. Since 2002, Buser has finished in the top-ten four times and has the most consecutive Iditarod finishes at 33.

In 2018, Leifseth Ulsom won his first Iditarod in a time of 9 days and 12 hours. Since 2013, the Norwegian musher has never finished worse than seventh. A year after Leifseth Ulsom won the Iditarod, Kaiser claimed victory in 2019 crossing the finish line in 9 days, 12 hours, 39 minutes, and 6 seconds. The Bethel musher has also won the Kuskokwim 300 five times.

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