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Iditarod 2021 Blog: Last musher crosses the finish line in Deshka Landing

The 2021 Iditarod start line in Deshka Landing.
The 2021 Iditarod start line in Deshka Landing.(KTUU)
Published: Mar. 7, 2021 at 12:06 PM AKST|Updated: Mar. 18, 2021 at 7:00 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - This race blog is where the Alaska’s News Source team will post breaking updates from the trail, race standings, photos and more 24/7 until the last musher crosses the finish line.

March 18 — 7:00 a.m.

Victoria Hardwick claims the Red Lantern Award

At 12:22 a.m. Thursday, veteran Iditarod musher Victoria Hardwick, bib number 48, crossed the finish line in Deshka Landing claiming the Red Lantern Award.

Hardwick was the last musher, just seconds behind rookie Dakota Schlosser, to finish the race placing 36th. She completed the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in 10 days, 9 hours, 22 minutes and 6 seconds with 10 dogs in harness.

RELATED: Victoria Hardwick claims the Red Lantern Award, last musher to cross the finish line

March 17 — 10:40 p.m.

Looking toward the end of the race

With the last couple of mushers racing closer to Deshka Landing, the race could be over by early tomorrow morning.

March 17 — 12 p.m.

Rookie of the Year

The Iditarod competition for Rookie of the Year wrapped up when Anchorage musher Chad Stoddard crossed the finish line in 9 days, 4 hours, 6 minutes and 10 seconds with 13 dogs in harness.

READ MORE: Iditarod musher Chad Stoddard wins 2021 Rookie of the Year

March 17 — 10:14 a.m.

The back of the pack are in Skwentna

The last few mushers are at the final checkpoint. According to race standings, five mushers have not left Skwentna yet to head to Deshka Landing.

March 17 — 7:19 a.m.

Top 25 mushers plus two arrive in Deshka Landing

As Tuesday came and went, the top 25 plus two more mushers crossed the finish line.

  • Matthew Failor - 12:03 p.m. Tuesday
  • Kristy Berington - 7:03 p.m. Tuesday
  • Chad Stoddard - 7:06 p.m. Tuesday
  • Anna Berington - 7:13 p.m. Tuesday
  • Travis Beals - 11:00 p.m. Tuesday
  • Matt Hall - 3:02 a.m. Wednesday
  • Martin Buser - 3:10 a.m. Wednesday

According to race standings, Stoddard, bib number 18, was the first rookie musher to cross the finish line.

March 16 — 11:12 a.m.

More mushers have crossed the finish line

Over a day after Dallas Seavey crossed the finish line winning his fifth Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, the top 20 mushers have arrived in Deshka Landing.

Cody Strathe was the 20th musher to cross the finish line. Strathe arrived at 10:45 a.m.

Here is the top 20 and the times they crossed the finish line:

1. Dallas Seavey - 5:08 a.m. Monday6. Nicolas Petit - 1:25 p.m. Monday11. Michelle Phillips - 4:30 p.m. Monday16. Dan Kaduce - 5:33 a.m. Tuesday
2. Aaron Burmeister - 8:23 a.m. Monday7. Ryan Redington - 2:46 p.m. Monday12. Jeff Deeter - 7:35 p.m. Monday17. Lev Shvarts - 5:47 a.m. Tuesday
3. Brent Sass - 9:41 a.m. Monday8. Joar Leifseth Ulsom - 3:17 p.m. Monday13. Jessie Royer - 8:00 p.m. Monday18. Ryne Olson - 7:13 a.m. Tuesday
4. Wade Marrs - 12:53 p.m. Monday9. Richie Diehl - 3:26 p.m. Monday14. Aaron Peck - 1:05 a.m. Tuesday19. Paige Drobny - 7:19 a.m. Tuesday
5. Mille Porsild - 1: 21 p.m. Monday10. Ramey Smyth - 3:41 p.m. Monday15. Jessie Holmes - 2:29 a.m. Tuesday20. Cody Strathe - 10:45 a.m. Tuesday

March 16 — 7:19 a.m.

Back of the pack checks out of Rohn

The last few mushers in the back of the pack have checked out of Rohn and are heading south.

According to the Iditarod GPS tracker, Victoria Hardwick, bib number 48, is about 168 miles from the finish line and is currently the last musher back.

Race standings show rookie Dakota Schlosser, bib number 39, was the last musher to check out of Rohn. He did so at 6:09 a.m.

March 16 — 6:06 a.m.

Mushers make their way into Deshka Landing

Mushers placing in 13-17 have made their way across the finish line. Here are the mushers in order:

  • Jessie Royer - Checked in at 8:00 p.m. Monday
  • Aaron Peck - Checked in at 1:05 a.m. Tuesday
  • Jessie Holmes - Checked in at 2:29 a.m. Tuesday
  • Dan Kaduce - Checked in at 5:33 a.m. Tuesday
  • Lev Shvarts - Checked in at 5:47 a.m. Tuesday

March 15 — 7:49 p.m.

Mushers continue to reach Deshka Landing

Veteran Iditarod mushers Michelle Phillips and Jeff Deeter are the latest mushers to finish this year’s race, earning the 11th and 12th spots in the final lineup.

Jessie Royer, bib number 24, is currently just two miles away from the finish line! Behind her is Aaron Peck, who has about 37 miles to go.

March 15 — 4:04 p.m.

Top 10 mushers finish the race

This year’s Iditarod now has an official top 10!

March 15 — 2:36 p.m.

Small crew brings up rear of Iditarod pack

After Dallas Seavey took his fifth Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race title upon crossing the finish line in the 49th running of the race early Monday morning, a mix of teams at the back of the pack remains around 200 miles away from the end of their races.

READ MORE: As a champion is crowned, small crew brings up rear of Iditarod pack

March 15 — 1:52 p.m.

Top six mushers cross the finish line

As the day continues, more mushers have reached Deshka Landing. So far, six mushers have completed the race.

Aside from the top three, Wade Marrs, Mille Porsild and Nic Petit have reached the finish line. They each placed fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.

Marrs completed the race at 12:53 p.m. with 10 dogs in harness at the end of the race.

Porsild crossed the finish line at 1:12 p.m. with nine in harness at the end of the race.

Petit ended his journey at 1:25 p.m. with 10 dogs in harness at the end of the race.

March 15 — 11:30 a.m.

VIDEO: Top three mushers making their way into Deshka Landing

Dallas Seavey, Aaron Burmeister and Brent Sass have crossed the finish line.

RELATED: Top three mushers cross the finish line in the 49th Iditarod

March 15 — 10:15 a.m.

Brent Sass finishes in third place

More than four hours after Dallas Seavey crossed the finish line to capture his fifth Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race championship, Brent Sass crossed the finish line claiming third place.

Sass crossed the finish line at 9:41 a.m.

March 15 — 8:38 a.m.

Burmeister finishes the 2021 Iditarod in second place

Aaron Burmeister has made it to Deshka Landing. He secures his second-place spot following Dallas Seavey.

Burmeister checked in at 08:23 a.m.

Close to finishing in third is Brent Sass who is less than 10 miles from the finish line.

Dallas Seavey is your 2021 Iditarod champion. Charlie Sokatis shows you the video of Seavey crossing the finish line and...

Posted by Alaska's News Source on Monday, March 15, 2021

March 15 — 6:55 a.m.

Top 10 mushers leave Skwentna heading south

Over an hour after Dallas Seavey cruised past the finish line to win his fifth Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race championship, the top 10 mushers have left Skwentna heading south.

Expected to cross the finish line soon is veteran mushers Aaron Burmeister and Brent Sass who will place second and third respectively.

Here is the top 10 according to race standings in order:

  • Dallas Seavey
  • Aaron Burmeister
  • Brent Sass
  • Wade Marrs
  • Mille Porsild
  • Nic Petit
  • Ryan Redington
  • Richie Diehl
  • Joar Leifseth Ulsom
  • Michelle Phillips

March 15 — 6:55 a.m.

VIDEO: Dallas getting to the finish line

This year, Seavey stayed toward the top of the leaderboard for a majority of the race. His determination helped him win four awards along the trail: the Northrim Bank Achieve More Award, Ryan Air Gold Coast Award, First Musher to the Yukon Award and Alaska Air Transit Spirit of Iditarod Award.

March 15 — 6:25 a.m.

Light snow greets the front runners of the Iditarod

Through the past week, mushers have seen temperatures swing nearly 70 degrees, with the greatest stretch of cold along the back half of the trail. From Ophir to Iditarod many mushers were met with temperatures falling as low as -50. Temperatures have greatly warmed since then, as mushers are back in Southcentral. Along the trail is light snow showers falling as a low continues to push into the Prince William Sound. No significant snow can be expected with this system, but accumulation could amount up to 2 inches by the end of the day.

While temperatures are starting off this morning in the teens, temperatures will warm into the mid to upper 20s by the afternoon hours. The warmer temperatures could have an impact on those along the trail, as the dogs don’t favor the warmth. If one were to look at the silver lining, temperatures over the next several days stay in the 20s, with overnight lows in the single digits. By Tuesday afternoon, sunshine will even anchor itself into the region, for the rest of the week.

Through the past week, mushers have seen temperatures swing nearly 70 degrees, with the...
Through the past week, mushers have seen temperatures swing nearly 70 degrees, with the greatest stretch of cold along the back half of the trail.(KTUU)

March 15 — 5:40 a.m.

Dallas Seavey wins his fifth Iditarod championship

Crossing the finish line in Deshka Landing, Dallas Seavey has won his fifth Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race championship.

The veteran musher, bib number 23, arrived at Deshka Landing just after 5 a.m. Monday. This win comes after he skipped the past three races.

RELATED: Veteran Iditarod musher Dallas Seavey wins his fifth Iditarod championship

March 15 — 4:55 a.m.

2021 Iditarod finish

Veteran Iditarod musher and front-runner Dallas Seavey is just miles away from the finish line!

2021 Iditarod finish

WATCH: Veteran Iditarod musher Dallas Seavey is about to cross the finish line for his fifth Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race title. Get the latest updates on our live blog: https://bit.ly/3bNyvFZ

Posted by Alaska's News Source on Monday, March 15, 2021

March 15 — 4:30 a.m.

Dallas Seavey five miles away from finish line

Veteran Iditarod musher and front-runner Dallas Seavey is just five miles away from the finish line!

March 15 — 4 a.m.

Rookie musher Jeremy Traska scratches

Rookie Iditarod musher Jeremy Traska has scratched at the Nikolai checkpoint, heading south. Traska, bib number five, of Two Rivers, scratched at midnight “in the best interest of his race team.” He had nine dogs in harness.

March 15 — 1:30 a.m.

Seavey still ahead, looking to score fifth championship

This year’s front-runner, veteran Iditarod musher Dallas Seavey, is still ahead of second place musher Aaron Burmeister by about 13 miles. The GPS tracker shows he rested briefly nearly the Yentna Station Roadhouse before continuing on the trail.

Seavey is currently racing just over 7 mph and is 28 miles from the finish line.

March 15 — 12:41 a.m.

Brent Sass back on the trail, racing toward Deshka Landing

The top three mushers in this year’s race are officially out of Skwentna, with Brent Sass departing at 11:40 p.m. with 13 dogs in harness.

Dallas Seavey appears to be maintaining a 12-mile lead over Aaron Burmeister for now.

March 14 — 11:20 p.m.

Wondering about the lengthy rest in Skwentna? It’s mandatory

Mushers going through Skwentna heading south to Deshka Landing are all required to take a mandatory, eight-hour rest before departing for the finish line. The required rest here takes the place of the usual eight-hour rest that’s usually mandatory in White Mountain on the way to Nome.

RELATED: For Iditarod 2021, new trail comes with new rules for rest

As for current race standings, all teams are now out of the McGrath checkpoint heading south, with 2019 Red Lantern Winner Victoria Hardwick and rookie Dakota Schlosser bringing up the rear.

The middle of the pack is spread out between Nikolai and Finger Lake.

PositionMusherBib No.Checkpoint
33Hal Hanson (r)12In Nikolai (s) — 8:26 p.m.
34Jeremy Traska (r)5In Nikolai (s) — 9:18 p.m.
35Will Troshynski (r)27In Nikolai (s) — 9:52 p.m.
36Victoria Hardwick48Out of McGrath (s) — 2:47 p.m.
37Dakota Schlosser (r)39Out of McGrath (s) — 2:52 p.m.

March 14 — 10:18 p.m.

Top ten are in or through Skwentna

With three more mushers arriving to the Skwentna checkpoint, the current top ten have made it to Skwentna or are already out.

Richie Diehl, Joar Leifseth Ulsom and Michelle Phillips all arrived shortly before 10:15 p.m. Sunday, per the race’s GPS tracking system. Current standings have not yet updated.

March 14 — 10 p.m.

Aaron Burmeister departs Skwentna, chasing Dallas Seavey

Veteran Aaron Burmeister is out of the Skwentna checkpoint after taking 8 hours’ rest, as shown on the Iditarod GPS tracking map. He appears to still have 13 dogs in harness.

Burmeister is currently running about 8 miles behind Seavey as of this writing.

March 14 — 8:30 p.m.

Seavey racing toward Deshka Landing

Veteran Iditarod musher Dallas Seavey has checked out of Skwentna and in racing toward Deshka Landing.

Race standings show he left as soon as his eight-hour rest was over at 8:44 p.m. The front-runner has 10 dogs in harness.

March 14 — 8:30 p.m.

Top five mushers in Skwentna

More leading mushers are reaching Skwentna, heading south, the last checkpoint before the finish line of the race.

According to race standings, veteran mushers Wade Marrs, Mille Porsild, Nic Petit and Ryan Redington have all checked in.

Marrs reached the checkpoint at 7:45 p.m. and Porsild arrived a minute later. Petit got to the checkpoint at 8:10 p.m. and Redington arrived at 8:18 p.m.

March 14 — 7:18 p.m.

Meet Sarah! One of Aaron Burmeister’s dogs

Sarah is running on Aaron Burmeister’s team. She goes nuts a few minutes after pulling into every checkpoint. Burmeister says she’s just excited to eat because she’s a “food hound.”

March 14 — 6:45 p.m.

Leaders resting in Skwentna before final push

We are now just hours away from the expected finish of this year’s Iditarod race, with the first musher predicted to reach Deshka Landing sometime early Monday morning!

READ MORE: Iditarod 2021 Trail Tracker: Leaders resting in Skwentna before the final push

March 14 — 6:08 p.m.

Here’s your latest Iditarod forecast

With three mushers on their final eight-hour rest in Skwentna, we look toward the weather for tonight as the leaders depart the checkpoint.

Temperatures will be in the single digits as the champion of Iditarod 49 is crowned.
Temperatures will be in the single digits as the champion of Iditarod 49 is crowned.

We are expecting some light snow to move into the area this evening and it should continue through the early morning hours — only about an inch of accumulation is expected.

READ MORE: Iditarod 49 weather as the champion is crowned

March 14 — 5:14 p.m.

When will mushers leave Skwentna?

Are you wondering when mushers will leave Skwentna? Heading south, it’s where they all have to take another mandatory eight-hour rest.

Here are the earliest possible departure times for the top three, should they leave right at the eight-hour mark:

  • Dallas Seavey - 8:44 p.m.
  • Aaron Burmeister - 9:45 p.m.
  • Brent Sass - 11:40 p.m.

March 14 — 3:55 p.m.

Sass gets to Skwentna

Brent Sass has arrived in Skwentna in third place, according to the Iditarod’s GPS tracking system. His arrival follows Aaron Burmeister’s by about two hours. Sass had 13 dogs in harness at the time of his check-in.

March 14 — 3:25 p.m.

Small crew reaches Rainy Pass, moves through toward Skwentna

At least eight teams have now made it through Rainy Pass, with most of them spending less than five minutes at the checkpoint.

Wade Marrs, with 10 dogs; Ryan Redington, with seven dogs; and Nicolas Petit, with 12 dogs, have all moved through the checkpoint. Joar Leifseth Ulsom checked in at 1:20 this afternoon with 12 dogs in harness, and he appears to still be there.

Richie Diehl is next closest to the Rainy Pass checkpoint, followed closely by Michelle Phillips.

All mushers who are still in the race have made it to McGrath heading south.

March 14 — 2 p.m.

Burmeister reaches Skwentna

Veteran Iditarod musher Aaron Burmeister was the second musher to arrive at the Skwentna checkpoint at 1:45 p.m. with 13 dogs in harness, according to the latest race standings.

He reached the checkpoint about an hour after veteran Iditarod musher Dallas Seavey, who is currently in first place. The GPS tracker shows both mushers resting at the checkpoint.

March 14 — 1 p.m.

Seavey reaches Skwentna

Veteran Iditarod musher Dallas Seavey was the first musher to arrive at the Skwentna checkpoint at 12:44 p.m. with 10 dogs in harness, according to the latest race standings.

March 14 — 11:55 a.m.

Porsild holds onto fourth spot, pushes through Finger Lake

Veteran Iditarod musher Mille Porsild reached the Finger Lake checkpoint, heading south, at 11:25 a.m. and was back on the trail in just three minutes!

This year’s race is only Porsild’s second Iditarod. In 2020, as a rookie, she placed 15th after finishing the race in 10 days, one hour and 43 minutes. She won $15,911.

READ MORE: Mille Porsild says she foresees challenge in this year’s Iditarod, but ready to tackle it

March 14 — 10:48 a.m.

Dennis Kananowicz scratches

Veteran Iditarod musher Dennis Kananowicz, bib number eight, scratched at 4:19 a.m. at the McGrath checkpoint, heading south.

The Tolsona musher had 11 dogs in harness and scratched “in the best interest of his race team.”

March 14 — 10:17 a.m.

Seavey’s lead over Burmeister shortens

Veteran musher Dallas Seavey held a strong lead over the rest of the pack yesterday, but Sunday morning Iditarod fans woke up to see that lead shrink to only about four miles.

Aaron Burmeister, also a veteran musher, is making a push for first place. Can he surpass Seavey to claim the championship?

March 14 — 9:30 a.m.

Top mushers out of Finger Lake

The leading three mushers in this year’s Iditarod have pushed past the Finger Lake checkpoint, heading south.

Veteran mushers Dallas Seavey, Aaron Burmeister and Brent Sass all passed through the checkpoint this morning in five minutes.

Here’s a look at the top five right now, according to the race GPS:

PositionMusherBib No.Checkpoint
1Dallas Seavey23Out of Finger Lake — 7:03 a.m.
2Aaron Burmeister36Out of Finger Lake — 7:18 a.m.
3Brent Sass21Out of Finger Lake — 9:27 a.m.
4Mille Porsild28Out of Rainy Pass — 7:05 a.m.
5Ryan Redington20Out of Rainy Pass — 5:05 a.m.

March 14 — 6:25 a.m.

Lead pack is through Rainy Pass

At the front of this year’s race, five mushers have officially checked in and out of Rainy Pass. That group thus far includes Aaron Burmeister, Dallas Seavey, Brent Sass, Wade Marrs and Ryan Redington. Another five teams are on their ways from Rohn to Rainy Pass.

March 14 — 1:50 a.m.

Burmeister sets sights further south, stopping only briefly in Rainy Pass

Iditarod race standings shows veteran Aaron Burmeister as having passed through the Rainy Pass checkpoint on his way to Finger Lake.

Burmeister checked in at 1:11 a.m. and checked out 14 minutes later, keeping his 13 dogs in harness.

March 13 — 11:55 p.m.

Standings update for Seavey, others

Standings have been updated to reflect Dallas Seavey’s arrival to Rainy Pass, showing him as checking in there at 10:05 p.m. with 12 dogs in harness. He has been resting there since, according to the Iditarod GPS tracker.

Ryan Redington has also left Rohn, now with eight dogs in harness after dropping one at the checkpoint; Wade Marrs left with 10 dogs, having dropped one in Rohn as well.

Everyone at the back of the pack has now checked in to Ophir heading south.

March 13 — 10:18 p.m.

Seavey reaches Rainy Pass

The Iditarod GPS tracker shows veteran Iditarod musher Dallas Seavey resting in Rainy Pass. The race standings have not been updated to show his arrival at the checkpoint.

March 13 — 9:52 p.m.

Sass leaves Rohn, slides into 3rd place

Veteran Iditarod musher Brent Bass is the third musher to leave Rohn for Rainy Pass, heading south. He left the checkpoint at 9:33 p.m. with 13 dogs after resting there for a little over four hours.

He is about seven miles behind veteran musher Aaron Burmeister, who is in second place after veteran musher Dallas Seavey.

The first musher to reach Rainy Pass, heading south, is slated to win the Ryan Air Gold Coast Award, which includes is $1,000 in gold nuggets.

March 13 — 9:28 p.m.

Burmeister back on the trail, racing toward Rainy Pass

Veteran Iditarod musher Aaron Burmeister is the second musher to leave Rohn for Rainy Pass, heading south. He left the checkpoint at 8:25 p.m. with 13 dogs and is about 24 miles behind frontrunner Dallas Seavey.

March 13 — 8:54 p.m.

What else is in the sled?

Inside the sleds of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race are the essentials: warm clothes, supplies to take care of the dogs, wilderness gear and more.

A cowbell that Bib #37, Cody Strathe sometime uses to get the dogs going. On Saturday, he said...
A cowbell that Bib #37, Cody Strathe sometime uses to get the dogs going. On Saturday, he said he had to leave it behind at one of the checkpoints to cut weight.(Taylor Clark)

As the race goes on, the sleds get lighter as the mushers try to increase their speed toward the finish line. However, some items the mushers keep with them from start to finish.

READ MORE: What else is in the sled? Personal items on the Iditarod trail

March 13 — 7:28 p.m.

Could Dallas Seavey score his fifth Iditarod championship?

Veteran Iditarod musher Martin Buser spoke with one of our reporters on the trail about Dallas Seavey’s shot at a fifth championship. Buser has also won the Iditarod four times in his career!

READ MORE: Four former champions take on the 2021 Iditarod

March 13 — 6:41 p.m.

Seavey racing toward Rainy Pass, other mushers file into Rohn

Veteran Iditarod musher Dallas Seavey has checked out of Rohn and is on his way to Rainy Pass, heading south.

Seavey left the checkpoint at 5:36 p.m. with 12 dogs in harness after resting for just six minutes, according to race standings.

The Iditarod GPS tracker shows Seavey is the only musher to have left the Rohn checkpoint. Race standings show veteran mushers Aaron Burmeister and Brent Sass are still in Rohn.

The GPS shows Ryan Redington and Wade Marrs have also gotten to Rohn, but standings has not been updated to reflect that.

March 13 — 5:33 p.m.

Burmeister wins Fish First Award

Veteran Iditarod musher Aaron Burmeister was the first to arrive at the Rohn checkpoint, heading south, Wednesday.

Burmeister, bib number 36, got to the checkpoint at 4:26 p.m. with 14 dogs in harness. Because he was the first musher to reach the checkpoint, he won the Bristol Bay Native Corp. Fish First Award.

READ MORE: Veteran Iditarod musher Aaron Burmeister wins Bristol Bay Native Corp. Fish First Award

March 13 — 4:48 p.m.

Burmeister arrives in Rohn; 14 others are on way from Nikolai

Aaron Burmeister is in Rohn, arriving there at 4:26 p.m., according to current standings. Brent Sass and Dallas Seavey – in that order, per GPS tracking – appear to be less than five miles out from the same checkpoint.

At least 12 others have left Nikolai for Rohn, with Aaron Peck and Ramey Smith among the most recent to depart. Some remain in Nikolai and McGrath, or on their ways to either; a few mushers still have yet to arrive to Ophir, the first checkpoint after Iditarod, located at race mile 512.

March 13 — 2:47 p.m.

Leads switch as Seavey camps out between Nikolai and Rohn

As Dallas Seavey takes some time to stop along the trail, Aaron Burmeister and Brent Sass have passed him on the way to Rohn, with Ryan Redington and Wade Marrs coming up quickly on Seavey’s resting spot. Richie Diehl, Mille Porsild, and 2018 Champion Joar Leifseth Ulsom are not far behind.

Among several others, Nic Petit also appears to have left Nikolai at this time, according to GPS tracking.

A few more teams have also now left McGrath, including Lev Shvarts, Cody Strathe, Dan Kaduce and Matthew Failor. Four-time Champion Martin Buser and rookie Susannah Tuminelli remain on their ways to McGrath.

Eight teams have yet to arrive to or depart Ophir, according to current standings, though rookie Sean Underwood appears to have just gotten there.

March 13 — 1:00 p.m.

More racers depart checkpoints to head south

At least eight teams have now officially checked out of Nikolai, according to the Iditarod’s current standings list. The Iditarod race GPS tracker, though, shows nine teams out, with Jessie Royer appearing to have recently left. At least 15 have checked in to Nikolai.

No teams are left in the Iditarod checkpoint. Rookie Hal Hanson and Dennis Kananowicz are bringing up the rear, according to the GPS tracker, about 25 miles from Ophir. Several mushers are only slightly farther down the trail.

March 13 — 10:48 a.m.

Two veteran mushers scratch from race

Two veteran Iditarod mushers have scratched form this year’s race.

Riley Dyche, bib number 16, of Fairbanks, scratched at 8:15 a.m. at the Iditarod checkpoint. He had nine dogs in harness and made the decision “in the best interest of his race team.”

Pete Kaiser, bib number 3, of Bethel, scratched at 9 a.m. at the McGrath checkpoint, also “in the best interest of his race team.” He had 10 dogs in harness.

READ MORE: Former Iditarod champion Pete Kaiser scratches from 2021 race

March 13 — 9:34 a.m.

Dallas Seavey leads the pack

A quick check of the Iditarod race GPS tracker this morning shows veteran musher Dallas Seavey leading the pack toward Rohn.

The musher in second place right now — about 20 miles behind Seavey — is veteran musher Aaron Burmeister.

Burmeister is followed by veteran musher Ryan Redington, who is only about five miles behind him, and veteran musher Brent Sass, who is only about a mile behind Redington.

March 13 — 7:55 a.m.

More mushers leave Nikolai, bound for Rohn

More mushers left Nikolai early this morning, making their way south toward Rohn. Here’s a look at the top five in the race so far, according to race standings:

PositionMusherBib No.Checkpoint
1Aaron Burmeister36Out of Nikolai — 2:27 a.m.
2Brent Sass21Out of Nikolai — 3:25 a.m.
3Dallas Seavey23Out of Nikolai — 3:50 a.m.
4Ryan Redington20Out of Nikolai — 6:56 a.m.
5Joar Leifseth Ulsom41Out of Nikolai — 7:20 a.m.

March 13 — 3:55 a.m.

Burmeister, Sass pass through Nikolai

Aaron Burmeister and Brent Sass have taken over the front two spots in Iditarod 49 after stopping only briefly in the Nikolai checkpoint. Burmeister arrived at 2:15 a.m. and left 12 minutes later, while Sass came in at 3:17 and departed within less than 10 minutes.

Burmeister has 14 dogs in harness, while Sass has 13.

Race standings show Dallas Seavey and Ryan Redington remain in the Nikolai checkpoint as of press time.

March 13 — 1:20 a.m.

Dallas Seavey arrives to Nikolai

Iditarod race standings show Dallas Seavey has officially checked in at Nikolai. He arrived at 12:44 a.m. with 13 dogs in harness.

Several mushers still remain in Iditarod, but most are between there and McGrath.

Nikolai, located at race mile 601, is approximately 265 miles from the finish line in Deshka Landing.

March 12 —11:30 p.m.

Entire field has made it to Iditarod; five teams have yet to start heading south

Current standings show the entire field in the 2021 edition of the Iditarod has made it to the Iditarod checkpoint, the end of the line before racers must turn around and head south to get to the finish line at Deshka Landing.

At least seven teams have also now officially left McGrath heading south, including Dallas Seavey, Ryan Redington, Aaron Burmeister, Brent Sass, Wade Marrs, Travis Beals and Mille Porsild.

Jeff Deeter and Aaron Peck have also arrived to McGrath.

WATCH: Iditarod Trail Tracker | March 12, 2021

March 12 — 7:53 p.m.

Top 10 mushers reach McGrath

Iditarod race standings show the top 10 mushers in the race so far have all checked in to the McGrath checkpoint, heading south.

The top five in the race are Dallas Seavey and Ryan Redington — who have already left the checkpoint and are on their way to Nikolai — Brent Sass, Wade Marrs and Aaron Burmeister.

Rounding out the top 10 are Travis Beals, Mille Porsild, Michelle Phillips, Richie Diehl and Pete Kaiser.

March 12 — 7:22 p.m.

Ryan Redington races toward Nikolai, heading south

Veteran Iditarod musher Ryan Redington has jumped to the second spot in the race after leaving McGrath at 7:13 p.m.

He rested for just over five hours at the checkpoint and has nine dogs in harness, according to the latest race standings.

March 12 — 6:32 p.m.

Seavey first musher to check out of McGrath

Veteran Iditarod musher Dallas Seavey is the first musher to make his way out of McGrath, heading south and bound for Nikolai.

Race standings shows he left the checkpoint at 5:32 p.m. with 13 dogs in harness after resting there for eight hours. He has now completed both of his mandatory layovers and remains in first place.

March 12 — 5:19 p.m.

Leading mushers in McGrath

The top five mushers are now in McGrath, heading south and making their way back to the starting point of the race.

Here’s a look at the top five right now:

PositionMusherBib No.Checkpoint
1Dallas Seavey23In McGrath — 9:32 a.m.
2Brent Sass21In McGrath — 12:42 p.m.
3Wade Marrs25In McGrath — 1:41 p.m.
4Ryan Redington20In McGrath — 3:27 p.m.
5Aaron Burmeister36In McGrath — 4:05 p.m.

March 12 — 2:34 p.m.

Marrs makes it to McGrath

The top three mushers have made it to McGrath

Wade Marrs checked in at 1:41 p.m. He joins Dallas Seavey and Brent Sass.

March 12 — 1:50 p.m.

Sass makes it to McGrath on his way south

As teams continue to make their way south, Brent Sass has just checked in to the McGrath checkpoint on his way south. Sass joins Dallas Seavey who has been at the checkpoint since 9:32 a.m.

There is also a small change in the top five:

PositionMusherBib No.Checkpoint
1Dallas Seavey23In McGrath — 9:32 a.m.
2Brent Sass21In McGrath — 12:42 p.m.
3Wade Marrs25Out of Ophir — 8:30 a.m.
4Ryan Redington20Out of Ophir — 10:10 a.m.
5Aaron Burmeister36Out of Ophir — 11:05 a.m.

The top 3 mushers have still not taken their 8-hour layover, according to race standings.

March 12 — 12:35 p.m.

Telling his story

Hal Hanson is driving Mitch Seavey’s puppy team this year. All of them about two years old, Hanson said he’s had a heavy hand in raising them. When he arrived at the McGrath checkpoint, he only had to send one dog home.

By racing standards, he’s in the back of the pack. Although with as good a time as he’s having there might be a chance those in the front might get a glimpse of his smile behind a very frozen beard.

“It was inoperable. And he was getting to the point you know? One night, he passed away in my arms,” said Rookie...

Posted by Alaska's News Source on Friday, March 12, 2021

March 12 — 10:50 a.m.

Seavey checks in to McGrath heading south

Veteran Iditarod musher Dallas Seavey has checked in to the McGrath checkpoint on his way south. He checked in at 9:32 a.m.

The closest musher to him currently, according to the Iditarod GPS tracker is Brent Sass who just arrived at Takotna.

Here’s a look at the top five right now:

PositionMusherBib No.Checkpoint
1Dallas Seavey23In McGrath — 9:32 a.m.
2Brent Sass21Out of Ophir — 7:24 a.m.
3Wade Marrs25Out of Ophir — 8:30 a.m.
4Ryan Redington20In Ophir — 6:12 a.m.
5Richie Diehl6In Ophir — 6:23 a.m.

Veteran Iditarod musher Dallas Seavey has checked in to the McGrath checkpoint on his way south. He checked in at 9:32...

Posted by Alaska's News Source on Friday, March 12, 2021

March 12 — 10:40 a.m.

Veteran Iditarod musher Rick Casillo scratches

Veteran Iditarod musher Rick Casillo has scratched at 9:59 a.m. Friday at the Iditarod checkpoint.

Casillo made the decision to scratch in the best interest of his race team.

Casillo had 13 dogs in harness at the time he made the decision to scratch.

March 12 — 9:25 a.m.

Seavey, Sass and Marrs are heading south

The top three mushers, according to standings, are on their way south. Leading the pack is Dallas Seavey followed by Brent Sass and Wade Marrs.

Sass checked out of Ophir at 7:24 a.m. and Marrs followed over an hour later at 8:30 a.m. The top three still need to take their 8-hour layover.

At the back of the pack, rookie Hal Hanson checked out of Ophir on his way north at 5:39 a.m.

Dallas Seavey is leading the pack south. He left Ophir at 4:26 a.m. This is a video of him heading on the trail. You...

Posted by Alaska's News Source on Friday, March 12, 2021

March 12 — 8:30 a.m.

Sunny, Cold, and Quiet Weather to kick start the weekend!

High pressure in the Interior continues to lead to a quiet, yet cold weather pattern. While many locations from Iditarod near Ophir are seeing temperatures well below zero, it’s good news for the dogs. Seeing as they perfrom better in colder weather, the upcoming forecast is one the mushers will enjoy.

Under plentiful sunshine today, temperatures will warm near zero degrees. A light to steady breeze out of the northwest is possible, which could yield wind chills below zero at times. This trend of sunshine and cold sticks around through much of the weekend. A change is on the horizon starting Sunday, ahead of the next storm system. Increasing clouds and a slight push of warmer weather will greet the mushers in the Alaska Range, as snow moves back into the region. Heading back towards Deshka Landing, will feature a return back to slightly warmer conditions in the days ahead along with cloudier skies.

High pressure in the Interior continues to lead to a quiet, yet cold weather pattern.
High pressure in the Interior continues to lead to a quiet, yet cold weather pattern.(KTUU)

March 12 — 7:50 a.m.

Top five mushers make their way to Ophir

Following Dallas Seavey, the next four mushers rounding out the top five have checked in to Ophir on their way south.

  • Ryan Redington - Checked in a 6:12 a.m.
  • Richie Diehl - Checked in a 6:23 a.m.
  • Pete Kaiser - Checked in a 6:30 a.m.
  • Joar Leifseth Ulsom - Checked in a 6:36 a.m.

According to race standings, every musher on the trail has taken their 24-hour layover.

March 12 — 7:15 a.m.

Making it to McGrath thanks to trail markers, snowshoes and duct tape

Shortly after leaving the Rohn checkpoint past the Happy River Steps, veteran Iditarod musher Victoria Hardwick ran into a tree and the front end of her sled fell apart. Immediately the Bethel musher thought her race was over.

“It took a long time to put it back in a drivable position,” Hardwick said. “Unfortunately, I think that cost me five or six hours.”

Hardwick went back to the Rohn checkpoint after crashing and fixed her sled. She held the front end together with duct tape, trail markers, and snowshoes.

RELATED: Iditarod musher Victoria Hardwick makes it to McGrath thanks to trail markers, snowshoes and duct tape

March 12 — 6:31 a.m.

Meet rookie musher Hal Hanson

Rookie Iditarod musher Hal Hanson, bib #12, is a former cowboy from Stillwater, Oklahoma who has spent the past several years turning into an Alaskan musher under the teachings of three-time Iditarod champion Mitch Seavey. At first, he says he moved to Alaska to find some colder weather. After getting to know him a little bit, one learns the reason goes much deeper.

He’s driving Mitch Seavey’s puppy team this year. All of them about two years old, Hanson said he’s had a heavy hand in raising them. When he arrived at the McGrath checkpoint, he only had to send one dog home.

Rookie bib number 12, Hal Hanson is a former cowboy from Stillwater, Oklahoma who has spent the...
Rookie bib number 12, Hal Hanson is a former cowboy from Stillwater, Oklahoma who has spent the past several years turning into an Alaskan musher under the teachings of three-time Iditarod champion Mitch Seavey.(KTUU)

RELATED: Finding Home on the trail: Meet rookie musher Hal Hanson

March 12 — 5:47 a.m.

Seavey checks in at Ophir, wins First Musher to the Yukon Award

Veteran Iditarod Musher Dallas Seavey is the first musher to check-in to the Ophir checkpoint going south. According to race standings, Seavey checked in at 4:19 a.m. and was out at 4:26 a.m. The Iditarod GPS tracker shows Seavey about halfway to Takotna.

Ryan Redington is the next musher expected to make it to Ophir heading south, according to the Iditarod GPS tracker.

Here’s a look at the top five right now:

PositionMusherBib No.Checkpoint
1Dallas Seavey23Out of Ophir (south)— 2:55 p.m.
2Ryan Redington20Out of Iditarod — 3:56 p.m.
3Richie Diehl6Out of Iditarod — 4:37 p.m.
4Pete Kaiser3Out of Iditarod — 4:41 p.m.
5Joar Leifseth Ulsom41Out of Iditarod — 4:44 p.m.

RELATED: Dallas Seavey wins First Musher to the Yukon Award

March 12 — 4:08 a.m.

Seavey closing in on Ophir, where rookie brings up rear

As Dallas Seavey closes in on Ophir heading south, rookie Hal Hanson remains at that checkpoint on his way north. Hanson checked in to Ophir at 11:27 with 13 dogs in harness. Will Troshynski followed Hanson in, but left shortly after 2 a.m.

Seavey, who was displayed as running shortly before publishing time, now appears to be resting about five miles from the Ophir checkpoint. Based on the Iditarod’s GPS tracking system, Ryan Redington, Pete Kaiser, Richie Diehl, Wade Marrs and Joar Leifseth Ulsom are all 12 to 16 miles behind him. Brent Sass is also in that mix of mushers.

March 12 — 2:20 a.m.

Top 20 are on the way back toward the finish line from Iditarod checkpoint

Twenty teams have now left the Iditarod checkpoint and are heading back to the finish line at Deshka Landing.

Race standings show 19 mushers have departed, with Cody Strathe as the most recent, but Jessie Holmes is also shown on the GPS tracker as well on his way to Ophir and is ahead of Strathe, despite still being listed as in Iditarod.

Most everyone is currently located betweeen Ophir and Iditarod, whether heading north or south.

Larry Daugherty’s standings status has updated to show him out of Ophir, having departed at 1:36 a.m., though his GPS tracker appears to be stuck on McGrath. Victoria Hardwick departed Ophir at 1:43, and Will Troshynski came through around 2 o’clock, bringing up the rear.

March 12 — 12:45 a.m.

Most have made it to Ophir heading north; more teams leave Iditarod checkpoint

Race standings show that all but one musher have arrived to the Ophir checkpoint heading north, with rookie Hal Hanson checking in there shortly before 11:30 Thursday. Fellow rookie Will Troshynski is still on his way there from McGrath.

Fifteen teams have now officially left Iditarod, with Jessie Royer, Nicolas Petit and Mille Porsild checking out at 11:58, 12:01 and 12:25, respectively.

March 11 — 11:40 p.m.

Teams trickle out of Iditarod, return south

As more teams depart Iditarod, a group still remains there, according to both current standings and the Iditarod GPS tracker.

The top ten have left the checkpoint, as has Paige Drobny, who is sitting in 11th. Among those who remain are Aaron Peck and Mille Porsild, who are coming up on 24 hours’ rest.

March 11 — 8:45 p.m.

Back of the pack leaves McGrath

Iditarod standings shows that all mushers are now out of McGrath. Rookie musher Will Troshynski, who is currently is last place, left the checkpoint at 8:13 p.m. with 14 dogs in harness.

March 11 — 7:38 p.m.

Three more mushers leave Iditarod checkpoint

Three more mushers have checked out of the Iditarod checkpoint and are on their way back to Ophir, taking on the second half of the race.

Veteran mushers Wade Marrs, Aaron Burmeister and Brent Sass left the checkpoint Thursday evening.

Marrs got back on the trail at 6:20 p.m. after spending just over four hours in Iditarod. Burmeister spent just 16 minutes at the checkpoint, looping back around to get on the trail at 7 p.m.

Sass left at 7:02 p.m. after completing his mandatory 24-hour layover in Iditarod.

Sass and Burmeister each have 14 dogs in harness; Marrs has 12, according to race standings.

March 11 — 6:53 p.m.

Meet Wayfinder!

Say hello to Wayfinder! He is 2 years old and runs with Aaron Peck and this is his first sled dog race ever!

March 11 — 5:20 p.m.

Top five mushers out of Iditarod checkpoint

The leading mushers in this year’s race have all checked out of Iditarod, according to the latest race standings update.

Dallas Seavey, Ryan Redington, Richie Diehl, Pete Kaiser and Joar Leifseth Ulsom are on their way back to Ophir. Here’s a look at the top five right now:

PositionMusherBib No.Checkpoint
1Dallas Seavey23Out of Iditarod — 2:55 p.m.
2Ryan Redington20Out of Iditarod — 3:56 p.m.
3Richie Diehl6Out of Iditarod — 4:37 p.m.
4Pete Kaiser3Out of Iditarod — 4:41 p.m.
5Joar Leifseth Ulsom41Out of Iditarod — 4:44 p.m.

Seavey rested in Iditarod for nearly four hours. Diehl, Kaiser and Ulsom were each at the checkpoint for seven minutes or less before heading back on the trail. Redington spent 16 minutes at the checkpoint.

Seavey, Diehl and Ulsom all have 13 dogs in harness, according to race standings. Redington has 10 and Kaiser has 11.

March 11 — 2:24 p.m.

Christopher Parker scratches at McGrath

Rookie Iditarod musher Christopher Parker, bib number 19, has scratched at the McGrath checkpoint.

Parker had eight dogs in harness at the time he decided to scratch in the best interest of his team.

The Fairbanks musher scratched at 1:45 p.m.

March 11 — 2:24 p.m.

Christopher Parker scratches at McGrath

Rookie Iditarod musher Christopher Parker, bib number 19, has scratched at the McGrath checkpoint.

Parker had eight dogs in harness at the time he decided to scratch in the best interest of his team.

The Fairbanks musher scratched at 1:45 p.m.

March 11 — 2:10 p.m.

Contact tracing underway: 2 mushers shared a tent with Johnson

During a COVID-19 meeting, epidemiologist Dr. Jodie Guest with Iditarod said Gunnar Johnson may been in contact with three people.

“Contact tracing from Gunnar what we do know is that the risk to other people who’ve gone on trail is probably at a maximum of three people,” Guest said. “He has not been inside any buildings since he left the start of the race so that is good news for all of our volunteers on the trail.”

Guest went on to say they are still trying to identify two mushers who shared a tent with Johnson when he stopped at a checkpoint.

She also pointed out that additional testing at the Nikolai checkpoint, where Johnson complete his 24-hour layover, and she says they tested 43 people and they all tested negative for COVID-19.

Guest says all other mushers have tested negative for COVID-19 and says the race will add an extra test for all mushers in McGrath before they progress back to the finish line.

March 11 — 1:18 p.m.

Veteran Iditarod musher Gunnar Johnson flown out of McGrath

According to McGrath checkpoint leader Matt Anderson, Johnson was flown out Thursday, he had two masks on when he left. Andersons says they are trying to do contact tracing.

RELATED: Veteran Iditarod musher withdrawn from Iditarod after testing positive for COVID-19

March 11 — 12:43 p.m.

Seavey, Beals officially check in to Iditarod

The Iditarod race standings have been updated to include the check-in times for Dallas Seavey and Travis Beals. Seavey checked in at 11:14 a.m. and Beals at 11:18 a.m.

Brent Sass, Aaron Peck and Mille Porsild remained in Iditarod for over 12 hours.

March 11 — 11:25 a.m.

Seavey, Beals make it to Iditarod

According to the Iditarod GPS tracker, the top five mushers have made it into Iditarod. Rounding out the top five are Dallas Seavey and Travis Beals.

Brent Sass, Aaron Peck and Mille Porsild have been in Iditarod for almost 12 hours now. Sass checking in around 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Here’s a look at the top five right now, according to Iditarod standings:

PositionMusherBib No.Checkpoint
1Brent Sass21In Iditarod — 6:08 p.m. (Wednesday)
2Aaron Peck2In Iditarod — 11:22 p.m. (Wednesday)
3Mille Porsild28In Iditarod — 11:41 p.m. (Wednesday)
4Dallas Seavey23In Iditarod — According to the Iditarod GPS tracker
5Travis Beals33In Iditarod — According to the Iditarod GPS tracker

March 11 — 10:40 a.m.

Almost in Iditarod

As of 10:40 a.m., only the Iditarod GPS tracker shows Brent Sass, Aaron Peck and Mille Porsild are all in Iditarod resting. Making their way there, and probably checking-in to the checkpoint will be Travis Beals and Dallas Seavey in the next hour.

March 11 — 10:25 a.m.

‘It’s not a race. It’s a trip that I take every year.’

We talked with veteran Iditarod musher Nic Petit at the McGrath checkpoint where you told us how he views the race.

We caught up with veteran Iditarod musher Nic Petit at the McGrath checkpoint where you told us how he views the race. ...

Posted by Alaska's News Source on Thursday, March 11, 2021

March 11 — 9:05 a.m.

Sunshine and biting cold on the trail to Iditarod

It’s a race to Iditarod and with it comes biting cold temperatures. Many locations west of the Alaska Range continue to see temperatures well below zero Thursday morning, as another Arctic Air mass settles into the state. Not much to report over the next few days, as sunshine and cold weather will be the dominant factor. The only concern will be breezy winds, which could yield some wind chills in the 30 to 45 below zero range. All in all, it should be fair weather ahead and more fitting for the dogs on the trail.

While temperatures will drop well below zero through the night, the afternoon should provide some reprieve from the cold. Highs the next few days should briefly climb above freezing, with slightly warmer conditions each day. Starting Saturday, clouds will slowly increase and a push of warmer air will follow. This will set the stage for the next storm pushing ashore Western Alaska, which could bring some light snow showers as mushers begin the journey back to Deshka Landing.

It's a race to Iditarod and with it comes biting cold temperatures.
It's a race to Iditarod and with it comes biting cold temperatures.(KTUU)

March 11 — 8:30 a.m.

Making their way to Iditarod

The first 10 mushers are out of the Ophir checkpoint and are on their way to Iditarod.

The Iditarod GPS tracker shows Brent Sass, Aaron Peck and Mille Porsild are all in Iditarod resting as of 8:30 a.m. Currently in the top 10 making their way to Iditarod, aside from Sass, Peck and Porsild are:

  • Travis Beals
  • Joar Leifseth Ulsom
  • Pete Kaiser
  • Dallas Seavey
  • Richie Diehl
  • Ryan Redington
  • Wade Marrs

Here’s a look at the top five right now, according to Iditarod standings:

PositionMusherBib No.Checkpoint
1Brent Sass21In Iditarod — 6:08 p.m. (Wednesday)
2Aaron Peck2In Iditarod — 11:22 p.m. (Wednesday)
3Mille Porsild28In Iditarod — 11:41 p.m. (Wednesday)
4Dallas Seavey23Out of Ophir — 10:02 p.m. (Wednesday)
5Travis Beals33Out of Ophir — 2:04 a.m.

So far, more than half of the mushers in the race have taken an official layover, either an eight-hour, 24 hour or both.

RELATED: Iditarod 2021 Trail Tracker: Sass halfway home, Johnson out due to Covid-19, Thursday AM update

March 11 — 6:40 a.m.

A surprise wake-up call

For rookie mushers, crossing the finish line can be the most rewarding part of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. For newcomer Susannah Tuminelli, it’s been a memorable experience.

Tuminelli was camping between the Nikolai and Rohn checkpoints when she woke up to her pocket on fire after a box of matches began to burn.

“My pocket was flaming, and I didn’t understand what’s going on because I just woken up,” Tuminelli said.

RELATED: A surprise wake-up call highlights rookie musher Susannah Tuminelli’s trip to McGrath checkpoint

March 11 — 5:55 a.m.

Mushers react to COVID-19 protocols on the Iditarod Trail

Upon arrival at the McGrath checkpoint, all mushers on the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race are required to take a rapid COVID-19 test. In an update Wednesday night, it was announced that veteran musher Gunnar Johnson, bib #11 had tested positive.

Matt Hall, bib number 17, said he didn’t have a hard time over the Farewell Burn and other treacherous areas along the trail to McGrath. However, he felt that other veterans and rookies alike joined him in feeling pretty nervous about the test because of the possibility of it ending his race.

“Either way if you spend your entire year to be here or three years to be here, building up a new kennel to be here, and then during the race you still might get yanked it’s like that’s the scary part,” he said, “Or was the scary part.”

RELATED: ‘That’s the scary part’: Mushers react to COVID-19 protocols on the Iditarod Trail

March 11 — 5:30 a.m.

Sass, Peck and Porsild are in Iditarod

As day five of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race continues, mushers Brent Sass, Aaron Peck and Mille Porsild are all in Iditarod Thursday morning.

Sass was the first to check in at around 6 p.m., followed by Peck and Porsild who checked in after 11 p.m.

Sass and Peck have yet to complete any official layovers.

Here’s a look at the top five right now, according to Iditarod standings:

PositionMusherBib No.Checkpoint
1Brent Sass21In Iditarod — 6:08 p.m. (Wednesday)
2Aaron Peck2In Iditarod — 11:22 p.m. (Wednesday)
3Mille Porsild28In Iditarod — 11:41 p.m. (Wednesday)
4Dallas Seavey23Out of Ophir — 10:02 p.m. (Wednesday)
5Travis Beals33Out of Ophir — 2:04 a.m.

March 11 — 1:45 a.m.

Majority of teams have left McGrath

The Iditarod’s current standings show that at least 22 mushers have checked out of McGrath, with veteran Lev Shvarts being the most recent to depart.

Seventeen of those teams have already arrived in Ophir; four of the 17 have either arrived to or departed for Iditarod. Wade Marrs is the most recent arrival to Ophir, clocking into that checkpoint at 12:33 a.m. Thursday.

Just six teams that have left McGrath and made it to Ophir or Iditarod have taken an eight-hour layover. Eleven of those who have left McGrath have taken their 24-hour layovers. No one has completed a combination of the two.

Brent Sass and Aaron Peck, who are currently ranked first and second, respectively, have yet to complete any official layovers. Both are at the Iditarod checkpoint. Mille Porsild, who is sitting in third and is also at Iditarod, has thus far completed an eight-hour layover; four-time champion Dallas Seavey, who is on his way from Ophir to Iditarod, has completed his 24-hour layover.

March 11 — 12:12 a.m.

Porsild officially checked in at Iditarod

Race standings have been updated to show Mille Porsild at Iditarod. She checked in at 11:41 p.m. Wednesday.

March 10 — 11:45 p.m.

Pair arrives at Iditarod checkpoint, rounding out top three

Veteran Iditarod musher Aaron Peck has arrived to Iditarod and is now resting, according to the Iditarod’s current standings list. He checked in at 11:22 p.m. Wednesday night.

The GPS tracker shows 2020 Rookie of the Year Mille Porsild in Iditarod as well.

Peck has 14 dogs with him, while Porsild has 11.

Current race standings have also been updated to show Dallas Seavey as having left Ophir at 10 p.m. Wednesday with 14 dogs in harness. At the moment, Seavey appears to be resting about 15 miles outside of the Ophir checkpoint.

March 10 — 11:25 p.m.

Surprises, uncertainty and trash bags for shoes at Ophir checkpoint

There was a surprise for mushers at the Ophir checkpoint Wednesday, but for some, that surprise was a nice one.

Veteran musher Paige Drobney had expected to be mushing ahead of husband Cody Strathe, but some of her dogs had felt a little sick earlier in the race and slowed down. Now, she said, the dogs feel better, and during their 24-hour layovers, Drobney and Strathe – who live together off the Denali Highway – could share a tent and look after each other’s dogs.

RELATED: Surprises, uncertainty and trash bags for shoes at Ophir checkpoint

March 10 — 10:21 p.m.

Peck, Porsild getting closer to Iditarod checkpoint

Veteran Iditarod mushers Aaron Peck and Mille Porsild are not far from the Iditarod checkpoint. The two left Ophir earlier this morning after resting for under 10 minutes each.

Peck is about six miles away from the checkpoint, while Porsild appears to be nine miles away.

Brent Sass, another veteran Iditarod musher, was the first to make it to the Iditarod checkpoint and is still resting there, according to the GPS tracker.

A fourth musher appears to have left Ophir for Iditarod. The Iditarod GPS shows Dallas Seavey running with 14 dogs in harness, though the race’s standings have not been updated to reflect that yet.

March 10 — 8:50 p.m.

Veteran Johnson withdrawn due to positive COVID-19 test

The Iditarod says veteran Iditarod musher Gunnar Johnson, of Duluth, Minnesota, has been withdrawn from the 2021 race after testing positive for COVID-19 at the McGrath checkpoint.

RELATED: For Iditarod vet Gunnar Johnson, travels on the trail serve purpose away from it, too

Johnson, who is asymptomatic, was withdrawn from the race around 3:15 p.m. today. He was immediately notified of his positive test and taken from the checkpoint to begin isolation.

All mushers are being tested upon arrival to McGrath, per protocol for this year’s race.

READ MORE: Veteran Iditarod musher withdrawn from Iditarod after testing positive for COVID-19

March 10 — 6:40 p.m.

First musher reaches Iditarod

Veteran Iditarod musher Brent Sass is resting in Iditarod. He is the first musher to reach the checkpoint.

Sass reached the checkpoint at 6:08 p.m. with 14 dogs. The Iditarod GPS tracker shows veteran mushers Aaron Peck and Mille Porsild still racing toward the checkpoint.

Peck is about 34 miles away, while Porsild is about 40 miles away.

March 10 — 6:26 p.m.

Life on the Iditarod trail

Have you ever thought about being a musher? Maybe you’d want to rethink that. Alaska’s News Source report Sean Maguire snapped this picture of the outhouse for mushers in Ophir.

March 10 — 4:02 p.m.

Sass nearing Iditarod

The Iditarod GPS shows veteran Iditarod musher Brent Sass is roughly 15 miles away from Iditarod.

Sass, Aaron Peck and Mille Porsild are still the only three mushers who have checked out of Ophir, according to race standings.

March 10 — 2 p.m.

Iditarod confirms shortened race

A press release confirming the decision to shorten this year’s trail was sent to newsrooms Wednesday afternoon, including a prepared statement from Iditarod Race Marshal Mark Nordman.

“Due to challenging trail conditions in to and at Flat, I have made the decision to have the Iditarod mushers bypass the out-and-back route to Flat and instead turn around at the Iditarod checkpoint,” the release states. “The Iditarod trailbreaker crew has had a challenging time breaking the trail open due to the sheer volume of accumulated snow, and has been unable to dig out a safe, well-marked trail to allow teams to travel to Flat. This decision does not affect any mandatory layovers.”

Alaska’s News Source first heard of the decision late Tuesday evening.

READ MORE: Iditarod race route shortened to eliminate loop to Flat

March 10 — 11:45 a.m.

Brenda Mackey scratches from the race

Rookie Iditarod musher Brenda Mackey, bib #15, has scratched at the Nikolai checkpoint.

Officials say she made the decision “in the best interest of her race team.” She scratched at 7:45 a.m. Wednesday.

Mackey had nine dogs in harness at the time she made the decision to scratch.

READ MORE: Rookie Iditarod musher Brenda Mackey scratches from the race

March 10 — 11:41 a.m.

Meet Nic Petit’s dog Mustard

Meet Mustard! Pictured here is veteran Iditarod musher Nic Petit holding his 18-month-old dog Mustard in McGrath.

Mustard is from a litter named after sauces, and one of his littermates is named Ketchup! Mustard has big, beautiful paws that will help him float over softer snow.

March 10 —10:40 a.m.

Top 10 mushers make it to Ophir

The Iditarod’s GPS tracker shows the first 10 mushers have made it to Ophir. Below are the mushers who checked-in:

  • Brent Sass
  • Aaron Peck
  • Ryan Redington
  • Aaron Burmeister
  • Ryne Olson
  • Jessie Homes
  • Michelle Phillips
  • Cody Strathe
  • Paige Drobny
  • Mille Porsild

So far, only Sass, Peck and Porsild have left the Ophir checkpoint and are on their way to Iditarod.

Here’s a look at the top five right now, according to Iditarod standings:

PositionMusherBib No.Checkpoint
1Brent Sass21Out of Ophir — 4:21 a.m.
2Aaron Peck2Out of Ophir — 8:32 a.m.
3Mille Porsild28Out of Ophir — 10:22 a.m.
4Ryan Redington20In Ophir — 2:34 a.m.
5Aaron Burmeister36In Ophir — 4:15 a.m.

March 10 — 8:00 a.m.

A glimpse of arriving at the McGrath checkpoint

As day four of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race continues, teams are making their way into various checkpoints. Here is what checking into the McGrath stop looks like.

March 10 — 7:30 a.m.

The path to Iditarod features clearer skies and biting cold!

Temperatures along the Iditarod Trail the past few days, have been on the warmer side, which is set to change starting as early as today. The storm responsible for the warmer conditions has exited off to the east and in its place is a surge of colder air. Many locations west of the Alaska Range are waking up to single-digit lows, with afternoon highs briefly expected to climb into the 20s. While it will still be seemingly warm today, the big change arrives overnight into Thursday.

For mushers making their journey to the Iditarod checkpoint in the coming days, one can expect to battle some of the coldest temperatures along the journey so far. By Wednesday night subzero lows are likely, with some locations seeing temperatures hovering 10 to 20 below zero. Factor in the breezy winds and wind chills will easily fall as low as 30 below in many locations. If one were to look at the silver lining, at least the sun will be shining as the week comes to an end.

Temperatures along the Iditarod Trail the past few days, have been on the warmer side, that is...
Temperatures along the Iditarod Trail the past few days, have been on the warmer side, that is set to change starting as early as today.(KTUU)

March 10 — 6:50 a.m.

Top five Iditarod mushers into McGrath declare their 24-hour layovers

As Dallas Seavey pulled into McGrath, he got a mandatory COVID-19 test. That meant an uncomfortable nasal swab and a rapid test that came back negative. All of the top five into McGrath also tested negative for the virus, said Dr. Jodie Guest, the Iditarod’s COVID czar.

Warm, comfortable and with access to electricity, all of the top five mushers into the McGrath checkpoint declared their 24-hour layovers there.

“The dogs are ready for a break now, and so am I, " said Travis Beals, a Seward-based musher, while smiling.

READ MORE: Top five Iditarod mushers into McGrath declare their 24-hour layovers

March 10 — 5:40 a.m.

Brent Sass the first out of Ophir

Veteran Iditarod musher Brent Sass is the first musher to check out of the Ophir checkpoint after only being there for only 11 minutes.

As of 5:30 a.m., Ryan Redington Aaron Burmeister and Sass are the only mushers to have checked in to the checkpoint. Of the top three, only Sass is the one who has not completed any of his layovers.

Redington was the first musher to check in to the Ophir checkpoint.

Here’s a look at the top five right now, according to Iditarod standings:

PositionMusherBib No.Checkpoint
1Brent Sass21Out of Ophir — 4:21 a.m.
2Ryan Redington20In Ophir — 2:34 a.m.
3Aaron Burmeister36In Ophir — 4:15 a.m.
4Ryne Olson14Out of McGrath — 1:57 a.m.
5Jessie Holmes44Out of McGrath — 2:27 a.m.

March 10 — 12:45 a.m.

With more than half the field now in McGrath, leaders roll through Takotna; Zirkle elaborates on injuries

At this hour, 24 teams have reached McGrath, with Matt Hall, Matthew Failor and Martin Buser having arrived in the last half-hour, according to the race’s current standings list. None of this year’s 11 rookies who are still in the race have arrived at the checkpoint.

The Iditarod’s GPS tracker also shows Ryan Redington in the lead, having already passed Takotna on his way to the official Ophir checkpoint. Brent Sass and Aaron Burmeister are both near Takotna. Everyone else is either in McGrath or has not arrived there yet.

Separately, a video released by the Iditarod shows Aliy Zirkle being evaluated at the Rohn checkpoint before she was medevaced via helicopter to Anchorage. Zirkle comments in the video that she suffered a concussion — as previously reported — as well as a dislocated shoulder. Her scratch was officially announced on Tuesday morning.

A Facebook post from Zirkle’s kennel says her dogs are currently in McGrath and that she is now at home, resting.

March 9 — 11:13 p.m.

Burmeister leaves McGrath, Redington nearing Takotna

Aaron Burmeister is the third musher to leave McGrath Tuesday night. According to Iditarod standings, Burmeister left the checkpoint at 10:52 p.m. with 14 dogs in harness.

The GPS tracker shows Ryan Redington nearing Takotna and Brent Sass resting on the trail.

Takotna is not listed as an official checkpoint in this year’s race. It’s located at mile 329 of the trail. Ophir, the next checkpoint, is about 23 miles away from Takotna.

March 9 — 10:30 p.m.

Iditarod race route shortened

Iditarod Race Marshal Mark Nordman says the race route is being shortened to eliminate the loop to Flat.

Nordman says the decision to shorten the route was made because there is too much snow to break the trail in that area.

The race will now loopback at the Iditarod checkpoint.

More details are expected from Iditarod soon, Nordman says.

March 9 — 10:11 p.m.

Redington leaves McGrath after two-hour rest

Veteran Iditarod musher Ryan Redington has left the McGrath checkpoint after resting there for just over two hours. He’s the second musher to leave the checkpoint. He left at 9:04 p.m. with 11 dogs in harness.

March 9 — 9:22 p.m.

‘You don’t sleep much, but that’s okay’

Mushers have started to arrive at the McGrath checkpoint, with most of the frontrunners planning to declare their 24-hour mandatory rest there. Days before their arrival, the Iditarod volunteers were busy making sure the teams had a good place to recuperate.

Coordinating the effort is Matt Anderson. He said with around half the number of volunteers as usual, and far less help from the surrounding community because of COVID-19, they’re doing more work with less hands.

READ MORE: The volunteers of Iditarod make the race happen

March 9 — 8:19 p.m.

Mandatory rests

Not a lot of mushers have declared their mandatory rests as of Tuesday night; however, it appears that many of the frontrunners are planning to declare their 24-hour rests in McGrath.

According to race standings, eight mushers have already declared their mandatory eight-hour rests: Ryan Redington, Matt Hall, Aaron Burmeister, Martin Buser, Riley Dyche, Brenda Mackey, Dennis Kananowicz and Will Troshynski.

Mackey and Troshynski are rookies in this year’s race; the rest are veterans.

March 9 — 7:36 p.m.

Dispatches from the trail

Alaska’s News Source reporter Patrick Enslow and veteran musher DeeDee Jonrowe offer insight as mushers arrive to McGrath.

March 9 — 6:53 p.m.

Brent Sass pushes past McGrath

Veteran Iditarod musher Brent Sass moved quickly through McGrath after reaching the checkpoint at 6:32 p.m. Tuesday.

He stayed only eight minutes at the checkpoint before heading back on the trail with 14 dogs in harness — sliding into the number one spot in the race.

Leading mushers are continuing to check in to McGrath. The top six teams have already reached the checkpoint and the Iditarod GPS shows a large group on the way.

Here’s a look at the top five right now, according to Iditarod standings:

PositionMusherBib No.Checkpoint
1Brent Sass21Out of McGrath — 6:40 p.m.
2Dallas Seavey23In McGrath — 4 p.m.
3Pete Kaiser3In McGrath — 5:29 p.m.
4Richie Diehl6In McGrath — 5:35 p.m.
5Joar Leifseth Ulsom41In McGrath — 5:42 p.m.

March 9 — 5:58 p.m.

Seavey wins Alaska Air Transit Spirit of Iditarod Award

As the first musher to reach the McGrath checkpoint, veteran musher Dallas Seavey, bib number 23, has won the Alaska Air Transit Spirit of Iditarod Award.

Seavey had a sizeable lead in the race Tuesday, miles ahead of other mushers on the trail. He checked in to McGrath at 4 p.m. Tuesday with 14 dogs, according to the latest Iditarod standings.

A press release from the Iditarod says Seavey was given handmade prizes that were crafted by McGrath residents.

READ MORE: Veteran musher Dallas Seavey wins Alaska Air Transit Spirit of Iditarod Award

March 9 — 4:22 p.m.

Dallas Seavey in McGrath

Dallas Seavey is the first musher to make it to McGrath. He pulled into the checkpoint at 4 p.m. with 14 dogs, according to the latest Iditarod standings.

March 9 — 3:17 p.m.

Leading mushers getting closer to McGrath

The Iditarod GPS tracker shows leading mushers are getting closer to McGrath. Dallas Seavey is still up ahead on the trail, followed by Richie Diehl, Joar Leifseth Ulsom, Pete Kaiser and Travis Beals.

According to an Iditarod press release, Seavey has a sizable lead and is expected to be the first musher to McGrath, where the Alaska Air Transit Spirit of Alaska Award is handed out.

March 9 — 12:11 p.m.

Dispatches from the trail

Veteran musher DeeDee Jonrowe on when she expects mushers to arrive in McGrath.

March 9 — 11:30 a.m.

Top 5 mushers start to head to McGrath

According to the Iditarod GPS tracker, the top five mushers have started to make their way to McGrath.

Leading the group is Dallas Seavey, followed by Brent Sass, Richie Diehl, Joar Leifseth Ulsom and Pete Kaiser.

Here’s a look at where mushers stand right now according to the standings:

PositionMusherBib No.Checkpoint
1Brent Sass21Out of Nikolai — 7:59 a.m.
2Dallas Seavey23Out of Nikolai — 9:04 a.m.
3Ryan Redington20In Nikolai — 4:45 a.m
4Aaron Burmeister36In Nikolai — 6:15 a.m
5Richie Diehl6In Nikolai — 6:40 a.m

The standings do show that Brent Sass was actually the first one to leave Nikolai.

READ MORE: Iditarod 2021 Trail tracker: Zirkle update, Sass takes the lead

March 9 — 10:26 a.m.

Seavey leads the pack to McGrath

Veteran Iditarod musher Dallas Seavey is the first to check out the Nikolai checkpoint and start his journey to McGrath. He checked out of Nikolai at 9:04 a.m. according to race standings.

The Iditarod GPS tracker shows Seavy and Brent Sass out of Nikolai while a handful of mushers, including Nic Petit and Martin Buser, remain at the checkpoint.

Here’s a look at where mushers stand right now according to the standings:

PositionMusherBib No.Checkpoint
1Dallas Seavey23Out of Nikolai — 9:04 a.m.
2Ryan Redington20In Nikolai — 4:45 a.m.
3Aaron Burmeister36In Nikolai — 6:15 a.m
4Richie Diehl6In Nikolai — 6:40 a.m
5Pete Kaiser3In Nikolai — 7:12 a.m

March 9 — 9:15 a.m.

Zirkle scratches from the race

Veteran Iditarod musher Aliy Zirkle has scratched from the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race after being hurt while coming into the Rohn checkpoint.

Officials say Zirkle scratched at the Rohn checkpoint Monday night at 8:05 p.m.

She was taken to an Anchorage hospital and is currently in stable condition “after sustaining a significant impact that resulted in a concussion and orthopedic injuries to her upper torso.”

Veteran Iditarod musher Aliy Zirkle scratches from the race. Charlie Sokaitis breaks down what we know so far and gives...

Posted by Alaska's News Source on Tuesday, March 9, 2021

READ MORE: Veteran Iditarod musher Aliy Zirkle scratches from the race

March 9 — 8:30 a.m.

Snow lingers, with mushers gearing up for the coldest leg of the journey

Light snow showers continue to fall across the Alaska Range as a frontal system stalls out across the region. While the snow will linger through the day for points as far west as McGrath, the accumulation will be light. Most locations will likely see an additional 1 to 3 inches of snowfall. The snow will slowly exit the region, with most locations seeing drier weather into the night. The bigger story is the warmer conditions, many locations from Rainy Pass and into Nickolai/Mcgrath will top out near or above freezing. This will likely slow down many of the mushers, as the warmer weather is not a favorite for the dogs. There is good news on the horizon though, as temperatures are expected to quickly fall in the days ahead.

Starting tonight into Wednesday, clouds will slowly clear as colder and drier air filters into the region. Temperatures along the trail will dip into the teens tonight, with even colder conditions expected through the day Wednesday and Thursday. By Thursday and into the end of the week, many locations along the trail will feature highs near 0 and subzero values likely as low as 30-below.

Light snow showers continue to fall across the Alaska Range as a frontal system stalls out...
Light snow showers continue to fall across the Alaska Range as a frontal system stalls out across the region.(KTUU)

March 9 — 8:10 a.m.

Mushers start to make their way into Nikolai

The top five mushers have made their way into the Nikolai checkpoint. The first to check-in was Ryan Redington followed by Aaron Burmeister over an hour later.

As of posting, seven mushers have made their way into Nikolai.

Here’s a look at where mushers stand right now according to the standings:

PositionMusherBib No.Checkpoint
1Ryan Redington20In Nikolai — 4:45 a.m
2Aaron Burmeister36In Nikolai — 6:15 a.m
3Richie Diehl6In Nikolai — 6:40 a.m
4Pete Kaiser3In Nikolai — 7:12 a.m
5Gunnar Johnson11In Nikolai — 7:19 a.m

READ MORE: Iditarod 2021 Trail Tracker: Zirkle out of the race, Redington first to Rohn

March 9 — 7:13 a.m.

A glimpse of McGrath before mushers arrive

Reporter Taylor Clark takes us behind the scenes ahead of mushers arriving in McGrath. He shows us what is happening to prepare for mushers and introduces us to a group of kids running a cocoa shop called “Loco Cocoa.”

March 9 — 5:25 a.m.

Redington first into Nikolai

Just before 5 a.m., veteran Iditarod musher Ryan Redington was the first to check-in to the Nikolai checkpoint. The Iditarod GPS tracker shows Aaron Burmeister and Richie Diehl right behind him.

Here’s a look at where mushers stand right now according to the standings:

PositionMusherBib No.Checkpoint
1Ryan Redington20In Nikolai — 4:45 a.m
2Martin Buser34Out of Rohn — 4:58 p.m.
3Richie Diehl6Out of Rohn — 5:25 p.m.
4Pete Kaiser3Out of Rohn — 6:12 p.m.
5Brent Sass21Out of Rohn — 6:27 p.m.

March 9 — 1:00 a.m.

Zirkle injured, per race marshal; most mushers have arrived to Rohn

Iditarod Race Marshal Mark Nordman says veteran musher Aliy Zirkle was injured upon arrival to Rohn and has been taken to Anchorage for evaluation. Little information was immediately available, though Nordman said Zirkle was in “stable condition.”

READ MORE: Veteran musher Aliy Zirkle to be evacuated to Anchorage after being injured at Rohn checkpoint

Thirty other teams have arrived at Rohn as of 12:45 a.m., per the race’s current standings list. The Iditarod’s GPS tracking system shows Ryan Redington once again in the lead, followed closely by Dallas Seavey and Nic Petit. They are all closing in on the Nikolai checkpoint, currently about 30 miles away.

Brent Sass, Richie Diehl and Aaron Burmeister are all about three miles behind the first trio. A total of 26 mushers have left Rohn so far, according to the standings list.

March 8 — 10:47 p.m.

Mushers continue along the trail

The Iditarod GPS tracker shows Brent Sass still in the lead in the race to Nikolai, but Nic Petit appears to be gaining speed and is only about three miles behind.

Rounding out the top five right now are: Dallas Seavey, Mille Porsild and Ryan Redington.

March 8 — 10:03 p.m.

Nic Petit races past group of resting mushers on the trail

The Iditarod GPS tracker shows Brent Sass leading the way to Nikolai, with Nic Petit about seven miles behind.

A handful of mushers are resting on the trail about 10 miles behind Sass, including Richie Diehl, Pete Kaiser, Travis Beals, Martin Buser, Joar Leifseth Ulsom and Ryan Redington.

Dallas Seavey was also resting near the group, but has recently started racing again and is in third behind Petit, according to the tracker.

March 8 — 8:34 p.m.

McGrath checkpoint quiet — for now

On Monday, the McGrath checkpoint was quiet aside from the few volunteers, pilots and vets helping put on the race in addition to the town’s residents. Soon enough, the mushers of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race and their dog teams will be livening things up a bit.

There were a number of sleds ready at the checkpoint for mushers to swap out. Volunteers spent the end of the day lining the checkpoint with straw for the dogs and supplies for the teams flown in prior.

Most of those volunteers will likely spend the duration of Iditarod at the McGrath checkpoint. Chief of the Iditarod Air Force Ed Cornfield said that’s the case at all of them aside from select volunteers. It’s all to help keep people from mingling, lowering the risk of COVID-19 complicating the race.

READ MORE: McGrath checkpoint quiet as racers continue along the Iditarod trail

March 8 — 7:45 p.m.

More mushers leave Rohn for Nikolai

The leading eight teams have checked out of Rohn and are racing toward Nikolai, according to the Iditarod race standings.

Here’s a look at where mushers stand right now:

PositionMusherBib No.Checkpoint
1Ryan Redington20Out of Rohn — 4:11 p.m.
2Martin Buser34Out of Rohn — 4:58 p.m.
3Richie Diehl6Out of Rohn — 5:25 p.m.
4Pete Kaiser3Out of Rohn — 6:12 p.m.
5Brent Sass21Out of Rohn — 6:27 p.m.

March 8 — 7:33 p.m.

The Iditarod Air Force

By land and air, the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race relies heavily on volunteers to make the race happen, and this year they’ll have limited numbers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These smaller numbers mean fewer flights for the Iditarod Air Force.

“Right now, we are trying to get all the volunteers out to the checkpoints,” Chief Pilot of the Iditarod Air Force Edward Kornfield said.

He added most volunteers and veterinarians are staying at one checkpoint, and flights are taking twice the amount of normal material to checkpoints to limit travel.

The Iditarod Air Force has 22 volunteer pilots, using their planes to fly out supplies, volunteers, and equipment to checkpoints during the race.

READ MORE: Iditarod Air Force is taking a less is more approach to 2021 Iditarod

March 8 — 6:31 p.m.

Teams rest at Rainy Pass

It was a bluebird day at Rainy Pass and four-time Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race champion Martin Buser was feeling less anxious.

The gold trail loop will take mushers and their dogs across the Alaska Range before they head to the ghost town of Iditarod. They’ll circle around Flat and come back over the Alaska Range a second time before finishing at Deshka Landing.

Notorious stretches of the Iditarod trail like Dalzell Gorge and the Happy Steps kept Buser up at night thinking how he would tackle them backwards when the trail is designed to go in one direction.

“I was extremely anxious. I was really worried about it, and I’ve done it once or twice,” Buser said.

READ MORE: Teams rest during warm temperatures at Rainy Pass after running a ‘superhighway’ of an Iditarod trail

March 8 — 6:04 p.m.

Leading three teams racing toward Nikolai

The top three teams in the Iditarod race have checked out of Rohn and are racing toward Nikolai.

The Iditarod GPS tracker shows Redington about five miles ahead of Buser on the trail. Diehl is about four miles behind Buser.

Here’s a look at the leading five teams, according to officials race standings:

PositionMusherBib No.Checkpoint
1Ryan Redington20Out of Rohn — 4:11 p.m.
2Martin Buser34Out of Rohn — 4:58 p.m.
3Richie Diehl6Out of Rohn — 5:25 p.m.
4Nic Petit10In Rohn — 1:54 p.m.
5Dallas Seavey23In Rohn — 3:03 p.m.

March 8 — 5:30 p.m.

A day at Rainy Pass

Here’s what the day looked like at Rainy Pass. Many teams took some time to rest at the checkpoint Monday, waiting for temperatures to cool before heading back on the trail.

March 8 — 4:49 p.m.

Ryan Redington leaves Rohn for Nikolai

Veteran Iditarod musher Ryan Redington spent just 37 minutes in Rohn before heading back out on the Iditarod trail.

Redington left Rohn at 4:11 p.m. with 12 dogs in harness. The Iditarod GPS tracker shows Nic Petit, Dallas Seavey and Aaron Burmeister still resting at the checkpoint.

March 8 — 4:06 p.m.

Cindy Gallea scratches at Skwentna

Veteran Iditarod musher Cindy Gallea scratched at 5:33 a.m. Monday in Skwentna. According to Iditarod, she became ill and decided to scratch in the best interest of her race team.

Iditarod says the illness was not related to COVID-19. Gallea had 14 dogs in harness.

March 8 — 3:52 p.m.

Ryan Redington, Aaron Burmeister in Rohn

Ryan Redington and Aaron Burmeister have to checked in to Rohn. Here’s a look at the top five right now, according to the Iditarod standings and GPS tracker:

PositionMusherBib No.Checkpoint
1Nic Petit10In Rohn — 1:54 p.m.
2Dallas Seavey23In Rohn — 3:03 p.m.
3Ryan Redington20In Rohn — 3:34 p.m.
4Aaron Burmeister36In Rohn — 3:50 p.m.
5Matt Hall17Out of Rainy Pass — 12:36 p.m.

March 8 — 3:34 p.m.

Dallas Seavey makes it to Rohn

Veteran Iditarod musher Dallas Seavey is the second musher to check in to Rohn. He arrived at 3:03 p.m. with 14 dogs. Mushers behind him include Ryan Redington, Aaron Burmeister and Martin Buser.

The Iditarod GPS tracker showed Burmeister and Buser resting on the trail, with Matt Hall racing not far behind Buser, but both Burmeister and Buser appear to be back up and running. Hall is about a mile behind Buser.

March 8 — 2:23 p.m.

1st musher to check in to Rohn: Nic Petit

Veteran Iditarod musher Nic Petit is the first musher to check in to Rohn. According to Iditarod race standings, Petit got to the checkpoint at 1:54 p.m. with 14 dogs.

Rounding out the top five on their way to Rohn, according to the GPS tracker, are Dallas Seavey, Ryan Redington, Aaron Burmeister and Martin Buser.

March 8 — 1:35 p.m.

A view from the sky

As mushers check in and out of the Rainy Pass checkpoint and head to Rohn, our sports director Patrick Enslow captures this video as he made his way to McGrath.

March 8 — 1:20 p.m.

Petit leads the pack on the way to Rohn

Veteran Iditarod musher Nic Petit is leading the pack on the way to Rohn and could be the first to check in, according to the Iditarod GPS tracker. He is being followed by Dallas Seavy, Ryan Redington, Brent Sass and Riley Dyche.

The top five look a lot different when compared to the current race standings.

Here’s a look at the top five right now according to the standings:

PositionMusherBib No.Checkpoint
1Ryan Redington20Out of Rainy Pass— 7:24 a.m.
2Richie Diehl6Out of Rainy Pass— 9:20 a.m.
3Nic Petit10Out of Rainy Pass— 9:57 a.m.
4Brent Sass21Out of Rainy Pass— 10:47 a.m.
5Millie Porsild28Out of Rainy Pass— 10:54 a.m.

READ MORE: Iditarod 2021 Trail Tracker: Ryan Redington out in front

March 8 — 12:36 p.m.

Alaska’s News Source trail team heads to McGrath

March 8 — 10:30 a.m.

Redington leads the top 3 as they head to Rohn

Day two of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is underway with veteran musher Ryan Redington continuing to lead the pack on his way to Rohn. Throughout the day he has stayed in the top spot.

He checked in to Rainy Pass at 7:14 a.m. and was out ten minutes later. That is about two hours ahead of the next musher to check in to the checkpoint, which was Richie Diehl at 9:14 a.m.

Here’s a look at the top five right now according to the standings:

PositionMusherBib No.Checkpoint
1Ryan Redington20Out of Rainy Pass— 7:24 a.m.
2Richie Diehl6Out of Rainy Pass— 9:20 a.m.
3Nic Petit10Out of Rainy Pass— 9:57 a.m.
4Martin Buser34In Rainy Pass — 8:11 a.m.
5Ryne Olson14Out of Finger Lake — 4:25 a.m.

Mushers need to take an 8-hour layover sometime between Rohn on the way out and Rohn on the way back. Plus they need to take their 24-hour rest at some point on the way out.

READ MORE: For Iditarod 2021, new trail comes with new rules for rest

March 8 — 9:40 a.m.

Sean Underwood gives some insight into his 2021 Iditarod team

Just before hitting the trail Sunday, rookie Iditarod musher Sean Underwood spoke about his team.

“I’m running Dallas Seavey’s B team,” Underwood said. “Most of these dogs have run Iditarod on a non-competitive team.”

A look at the Iditarod GPS tracker shows Underwood on his way to the Finger Lake checkpoint.

Rookie Iditarod musher Sean Underwood shared some insight on his team for the 2021 race just before heading out on the trail yesterday. Read our live blog: https://bit.ly/3sVf4ko #Iditarod2021

Posted by Alaska's News Source on Monday, March 8, 2021

March 8 — 8:57 a.m.

For Iditarod 2021, new trail comes with new rules for rest

The inaugural running of the gold trail loop in 2021 doesn’t only include changes to the race route for mushers and their teams. With a different trail to follow, required rest — which is mandatory for all mushers and their dogs at several points throughout the race — is also not quite the same as usual.

While the number of mandatory rests and their duration are the same, details of each have been amended to go along with the changes to the trail itself. With the race beginning and ending at Deshka Landing, and looping around Flat, locations of each of the mandatory rests have been noticeably altered.

READ MORE: For Iditarod 2021, new trail comes with new rules for rest

March 8 — 8:20 a.m.

Redington leads as he checks out of Rainy Pass

The Iditarod’s official standings show veteran Iditarod musher Ryan Redington leading the pack being the first to check-in and out of the Rainy Pass checkpoint. He checked in at 7:14 a.m. and was out 10 minutes later on his way to Rohn.

He is being followed by fellow veterans Martin Buser, Dallas Seavey, Cody Strathe and Richie Diehl according to the standings.

Here’s a look at the top five right now according to the standings:

PositionMusherBib No.Checkpoint
1Ryan Redington20Out of Rainy Pass— 7:24 a.m.
2Martin Buser34Out of Finger Lake — 4:59 a.m.
3Dallas Seavey23Out of Finger Lake — 5:02 a.m.
4Cody Strathe37Out of Finger Lake — 5:47 a.m.
5Richie Diehl6Out of Finger Lake — 6:17 a.m.

READ MORE: Iditarod 2021 Trail Tracker: Petit first to Finger Lake, “Dispatches from Dee Dee,” and a look at the leaderboard

March 8 — 7:47 a.m.

1st full day of Iditarod features sunny skies before snow moves in

High pressure across the Canadian/Alaskan border continues to yield plentiful skies across much of Southcentral and the Susitna Valley. While this means mushers will start off the morning with clear and cold conditions, temperatures will have no trouble warming through the day.

This comes as the higher March sun warms many locations roughly 10 to 20 degrees warmer than the morning lows. The trail ahead continues to show a decent snowpack in place and there looks to be no significant warmth that mushers will have to deal with, the only exception will be for parts of today where highs will top out near or above freezing across the Susitna Valley.

As mushers mush westward through the day, a steady stream of clouds will roll into the region. This will mark the return of some snow overnight into Wednesday. This will likely mean that the lead musher will begin to experience visibility issues as they approach the Alaskan Range. For now though, things remain quiet with sunshine and mild conditions headlining the first full day of the race

First full day of Iditarod features sunny skies before snow moves in.
First full day of Iditarod features sunny skies before snow moves in.(KTUU)

March 8 — 7:20 a.m.

A glimpse from the start line

Here is a look back at the start line Sunday afternoon in Deshka Landing.

March 8 — 5:17 a.m.

Leading mushers on their way to Rainy Pass

According to the Iditarod GPS tracker, Ryan Redington leads the pack on the way to Rainy Pass. Behind him are mushers Martin Buser, Matt Hall, Dallas Seavey and Nick Petit who is resting in Finger Lake.

A handful of mushers are resting at the Finger Lake checkpoint.

Here’s a look at the top five right now according to GPS:

PositionMusherBib No.Checkpoint
1Ryan Redington20Out of Finger Lake
2Martin Buser34Out of Finger Lake
3Matt Hall17Out of Finger Lake
4Dallas Seavey23Out of Finger Lake
5Nic Petit10In Finger Lake

March 8 — 1:28 a.m.

Petit leads, arrives at Finger Lake

Nic Petit, running under bib number 10, has arrived at the Finger Lake checkpoint, about 107 miles from the Deshka Landing start. He leads the next musher, Richie Diehl, by approximately 20 miles, according to the Iditarod GPS tracker.

All but seven mushers have made it to Skwentna thus far according to official race standings, and at least 30 have departed the same checkpoint. Veterans Larry Daugherty and Rick Casillo as well as rookies Hal Hanson, Christopher Parker, Will Troshynski, Sean Underwood and Joshua McNeil were still on their ways to Skwentna from Deshka Landing at last check.

March 8 — 12:15 a.m.

Top pack has left Skwentna; Petit flying toward Finger Lake

Veteran Nic Petit is about 10 miles from the Finger Lake checkpoint and has separated himself from the pack by almost 20 miles as of early Monday, according to the Iditarod’s GPS tracking system. Richie Diehl, Ryan Redington and Ramey Smyth are the next closest trio to Petit.

Pete Kaiser, Matthew Failor and Ryne Olson officially checked out of Skwentna by 11:30 p.m., according to updates made to race standings.

As of 12:15, at least 14 teams had come through Skwentna and departed as well. Those teams include but are not limited to Aaron Peck, Kristy Berington, Anna Berington, Mille Porsild, and Aliy Zirkle.

Brent Sass, Jeff Deeter and Dallas Seavey are among those who appear to have left Skwenta as well, GPS tracking shows, though official race standings do not yet reflect their departures.

At least 31 teams have now made it to Skwentna or beyond, with Joanna Jagow and Dan Kaduce among those who most recently arrived but do not appear to have left.

March 7 — 11:35 p.m.

Richie Diehl moves into 5th; twenty mushers have checked in to Skwentna

Aniak’s Richie Diehl has taken over 5th place, departing Skwentna at 11:04 p.m. Sunday. Behind him are 15 mushers who have thus far gotten to Skwentna, with rookie Joanna Jagow becoming the most recent check-in after arriving at 11:11 p.m., according to current standings.

Of the top 20 mushers, Nicolas Petit, Diehl and Pete Kaiser are the only three actively running as of 11:35 p.m. Petit is currently about 15 miles from the Finger Lake checkpoint, according to the Iditarod’s GPS tracker. Diehl is 20 miles behind him.

March 7 — 10:37 p.m.

Nic Petit in the lead as mushers head toward Finger Lake

The Iditarod’s GPS tracker shows Nic Petit out in front as leading mushers race toward Finger Lake.

The tracker shows Ryan Redington about five miles behind Petit, resting on the trail. Around two miles behind him is Ramey Smyth, also resting.

In a live update from Finger Lake — the next checkpoint — Iditarod Insiders said they expect mushers to reach the checkpoint around 3 a.m. Monday, depending on how often racers take a break along the trail.

March 7 — 9:24 p.m.

Leading mushers push past Skwentna

The Iditarod’s official standings show the top four mushers in the race so far have all checked out of Skwentna and the top 10 have made it to the checkpoint.

Ryan Redington, Matt Hall and Ramey Smyth all stayed less than 10 minutes at the checkpoint. Nic Petit stayed for 15 minutes. All four teams still have 14 dogs.

Here’s a look at the top five right now:

PositionMusherBib No.Checkpoint
1Ryan Redington20Out of Skwentna — 8:13 p.m.
2Nic Petit10Out of Skwentna — 8:50 p.m.
3Matt Hall17Out of Skwentna — 8:51 p.m.
4Ramey Smyth9Out of Skwentna — 9:16 p.m.
5Gunnar Johnson11In Skwentna — 8:29 p.m.

March 7 — 8:25 p.m.

Veteran musher Ryan Redington leads way to first checkpoint

Ryan Redington, who is wearing bib number 20 in this year’s Iditarod, was the first musher in to Skwentna Sunday evening according to the Iditarod’s official standings. The race’s global positioning system showed Redington at the checkpoint as of 8:10 p.m. He had checked out before 8:15 p.m.

Running close behind Redington and within just a couple of miles at the time of his arrival reported by the GPS system were numerous fellow veterans, including but not limited to Gunnar Johnson and Dennis Kananowicz, both of whom appeared to arrive to the checkpoint shortly after Redington; as well as Nic Petit, Jeff Deeter, Matt Hall, Brenda Mackey, Mille Porsild, 2019 champion Pete Kaiser and Richie Diehl. Thirteen other mushers were within about five miles of them.

March 7 — 8:15 p.m.

‘We’re out there to do our thing’

Veteran musher Aaron Burmeister shared his thoughts on the gold loop trail before starting this year’s race.

“I’m certainly going to miss all the villages along the trail and see all my friends up and down the Yukon and the coast,” he said.

March 7 — 7:42 p.m.

Veteran musher Martin Buser on this year’s race

Veteran Iditarod musher Martin Buser shares his thoughts on the 2021 route just before heading out on the trail.

March 7 — 7:21 p.m.

Veteran musher Gunnar Johnson returns to the trail with a specific purpose

Musher Gunnar Johnson, who first ran the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in 1991 but wouldn’t enter again until 2017, has returned to the Last Great Race not only with a goal for his travels on the trail but to effect change off of it, too.

The 52-year-old Johnson, of Duluth, Minnesota, had scouted out parts of the trail with veteran Jim Lanier in advance of the start, he said, as he looks to finish his third career Iditarod. However, he also has another mission in mind for this year’s race: raise awareness of suicide, and honor some of those who have died by self-harm in the past.

READ MORE: For Iditarod vet Gunnar Johnson, travels on the trail serve purpose away from it, too

March 7 — 6:55 p.m.

Jessie Royer’s dog team is full of Iditarod veterans

Veteran musher Jessie Royer shared a little bit of insight about her 2021 team before they hit the Iditarod trail. Of her 14-dog team, 11 also raced the Iditarod with her last year.

“This will be the first year I’ve had more females on my team than males,” she said, adding that females usually have a higher percentage of finishing.

March 7 — 6 p.m.

Front of the pack passes Yentna

The top 16 mushers on the trail so far have bypassed Yentna Station Roadhouse and are making their way toward Skwentna. Here’s a look at the top five right now, according to the GPS tracker:

PositionMusherBib No.Checkpoint
1Richie Diehl6Out of Deshka Landing — 2:08 p.m.
2Dennis Kananowicz8Out of Deshka Landing — 2:12 p.m.
3Aaron Peck2Out of Deshka Landing — 2 p.m.
4Pete Kaiser3Out of Deshka Landing — 2:02 p.m.
5Kristy Berington4Out of Deshka Landing — 2:04 p.m.

March 7 — 5:44 p.m.

Meet Chevelle: One of Cody Strathe’s lead dogs

Before he set off on the Iditarod trail, veteran Iditarod musher Cody Strathe introduced us to one of his lead dogs Chevelle.

“She’s kind of the cheerleader of the whole group,” he said.

March 7 — 4:37 p.m.

‘I kind of feel like I’m back in the rookie shoes, and that’s OK’

Norwegian Mille Porsild, who entered the Iditarod as a racer for the first time in 2020, said shortly before this year’s start that she’s ready for this year despite the inevitable challenges that lie ahead.

Porsild took 15th place in the 48th running of the Iditarod, which finished under the burled arch in Nome. She said Sunday that she doesn’t really feel any pressure from her Rookie of the Year title in 2020, nor that she has any “leg up” because of her success last time around.

READ MORE: Mille Porsild says she foresees challenge in this year’s Iditarod, but ready to tackle it

March 7 — 4:28 p.m.

Ryan Redington’s race outlook

Veteran musher Ryan Redington shared his outlook for the 2021 race.

“I’m excited,” he said. “I’m anxious and I’m very happy to be out there racing and racing this new trail is going to be a lot of fun.”

March 7 — 3:51 p.m.

Meet Rouge: One of Jessie Holmes’ lead dogs

Alaska’s News Source’s Taylor Clark caught up with veteran Iditarod musher Jessie Holmes to talk about his lead dog Rouge, who is running the race for her first time.

Alaska's News Source's Taylor Clark caught up with veteran Iditarod musher Jessie Holmes to talk about his lead dog...

Posted by Alaska's News Source on Sunday, March 7, 2021

March 7 — 3:35 p.m.

Mushers hit the trail

A field of 46 mushers have taken to the Iditarod trail for this year’s race — the shortest in race history at 852 miles. The last musher left Deshka Landing at 3:32 p.m. bound for Skwentna.

The mushers will pass by Yentna Station Roadhouse, which is traditionally the first checkpoint of the race, but that’s not the case this year. According to Iditarod, not many mushers would stop to rest at Yentna, so moving the first checkpoint to Skwentna made better sense for this year’s race.

READ MORE: Iditarod 2021 Trail Tracker: Mushers take off from Deshka Landing

March 7 — 2:56 p.m.

Mushers express relief, excitement over Iditarod

The COVID-19 pandemic’s arrival in Alaska was evident during the 2020 Iditarod, with changes unfolding throughout the race: despite a relatively normal ceremonial start in Anchorage and restart in Willow the next day, checkpoints changed as the race went on, mushers scratched citing concerns over the pandemic, stops in remote villages were altered, big events were canceled and the plan for the race in 2021 was a huge unknown.

As the 49th running of the race approached, however, the Iditarod’s organizers had prepared several different contingency plans, including an altered start and new route for teams. No matter the changes, participating mushers were all excited to hit the trail, expressing relief ahead of the official start on Sunday.

READ MORE: Mushers express relief, excitement over Iditarod’s continuation amid pandemic

March 7 — 2:40 p.m.

‘It’s still a big event’

Veteran Iditarod mushers Kristy and Anna Berington talk about the 2021 route and the challenges it may produce for mushers.

March 7 — 2:05 p.m.

‘A dog race is a dog race’

Veteran Iditarod musher Nicolas Petit shares his thoughts on the 2021 route and if it will impact musher standings.

March 7 — 1:30 p.m.

LIVE: Special coverage of the Iditarod start

Mushers are about to take off on the Iditarod trail from Deshka Landing in Willow. Stay with Alaska’s News Source as we cover the start of the race.

2021 Iditarod start

Mushers are about to take off on the Iditarod trail from Deshka Landing in Willow. Stay with Alaska's News Source as we cover the start of the #iditarod2021 race. Live blog: https://bit.ly/3sVf4ko

Posted by Alaska's News Source on Sunday, March 7, 2021

March 7 — 1:26 p.m.

First musher scratches ahead of Iditarod start

Rookie Iditarod musher Sean Williams, bib #35, has scratched before the start of the race.

Williams scratched at 6:21 a.m. due to a family health concern, not related to COVID-19.

March 7 — 12:35 p.m.

Veteran musher Peter Kaiser on this year’s race

Veteran Iditarod musher Peter Kaiser shares his thoughts on the 2021 race: “I think we are blessed to have a race.”

March 7 — 11:15 a.m.

Four former champions take on the 2021 Iditarod

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.

READ MORE: Four former champions take on the 2021 Iditarod

March 7 — 12:27 p.m.

WATCH: Veteran musher Aaron Peck shares his thoughts

Veteran Iditarod musher Aaron Peck shares his thoughts on this year’s route and its impact on not just rookie mushers but even those familiar with the race.

March 7 — 12 p.m.

Iditarod Forecast: Sunshine to start the race

We’re starting off the 49th Iditarod with a bit of sunshine and mild temperatures, but that changes pretty quickly.

The first musher leaves at 2 p.m. under sunny skies, and those clear skies stick around through the day and night, but by late Monday a change is moving through. The mushers will move toward the snow starting later in the day on Monday into early Tuesday morning.

March 7 — 10:33 a.m.

New trail, new challenges for racers

When veteran musher Jeremy Keller made the decision to drop out of the 2020 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race shortly after its start last March — citing the COVID-19 pandemic as his main reason for scratching — he was also making the conscious choice to take the Iditarod’s northern route backward instead of forward.

The Iditarod trail in 2021 will take the "Gold Trail Loop" (Courtesy of the Iditarod)
The Iditarod trail in 2021 will take the "Gold Trail Loop" (Courtesy of the Iditarod)(Courtesy of the Iditarod)

At the time of his scratch, Keller said little about the trail itself, but spoke of his desire to be back with his loved ones.

This week, Keller went into much more detail about what he faced during his return trip, and some of the trail features he expects others to be challenged by as they navigate the newly-minted Gold Trail Loop, the Iditarod route for 2021.

READ MORE: Jeremy Keller, who ran part of 2020 Iditarod before mushing back home, says this year’s trail will present new challenges for racers

March 7 — 10:33 a.m.

Aliy Zirkle prepares for her final Iditarod

The 2021 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race will be Aliy Zirkle’s final race.

The fan-favorite will retire from competitive sled dog racing after the 49th Iditarod. She made the retirement announcement on her kennel’s website in February sharing a letter written to a friend.

“I wrote that letter from the heart,” Zirkle said. “I said some things that I meant, obviously it struck more people to their heart than the original intent.”

The legendary musher is the only woman to ever win the Yukon Quest and has only finished outside of the Iditarod top 10 twice since 2012. Even though it will be Zirkle’s last Iditarod, she still wants to win the race.

READ MORE: ‘Thank you Alaska’: Aliy Zirkle prepares for her final Iditarod and life after sled dog racing

March 7 — 10 a.m.

Veteran musher Matthew Failor looks for top 10 finish

Tucked away in the woods of Willow, surrounded by views of Denali, you’ll find veteran musher Matthew Failor and his pack called 17th Dog preparing for the Last Great Race.

They’re among 47 teams set to run in this year’s race and Failor is no novice to this sport. This year marks the 49th running of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race and the 10th year Failor is running the race with his own team.

Regardless of his experience, preparing for this race is not easy.

READ MORE: Veteran musher Matthew Failor looks for top 10 finish after scratching in last year’s race

March 7 — 9:25 a.m.

Beer named after veteran musher

Usually when we talk about athletes being sponsored it is a shoe deal, but Richie Diehl is getting a beer named after him at Odd Man Rush Brewing in Eagle River.

“Richie has been dating my cousin for like 10 years finally getting married in the summer we have been on Richie for a while we wanted to give him some help and sponsor in some type and some way,” said Reid McDonald, owner of Odd Man Rush.

The name of the beer is the Real Diehl and just like Diehl has never had a beer named after him before, Odd Man Rush has never brewed this type of beer before.

READ MORE: Richie Diehl gets beer named after him ahead of Iditarod

March 7 — 9:08 a.m.

‘It’s not about the trophy, it’s about the dogs’

The stress level at Nic Petit’s Big Lake kennel is minimal heading into the biggest race of the year. For Petit, the dogs are an extension of his family and lovingly calls them his kids.

“They are what I have as far as children go, and significant others that’s what I got,” Petit said.

It’s not unusual to find Petit’s dogs inside his cabin sprawled out on a futon — a tight-knit bunch that is very comfortable around each other. This chemistry is something his team will need on the trail as they prepare for their 11th Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

READ MORE: Nic Petit motivated to win Iditarod for his dogs

March 7 — 9 a.m.

‘A pretty special race’

While the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the route and protocols of the 2021 Iditarod, race officials say that in addition to paying homage to the 1925 serum run — a relay of dog teams carrying diphtheria serum to Nome — the running of the 49th Iditarod will also fulfill the original dream of the man most know as the Father of the Iditarod.

This year, the 47 mushers of the Iditarod will not be making the trek all the way to Nome. The decision to cut the race to an out-and-back through the Alaska Range was one made in concert with all the communities that would normally have been along the trail. Mushers will race through the range, with layouts and protocols changed at many of the checkpoints, where checkpoints will be set up in outdoor tents, bunkhouses, and in some cases, airplane hangars.

READ MORE: ‘A pretty special race’: Iditarod prepping to run the race its founder dreamed of

March 7 — 8:51 a.m.

How to watch this year’s race

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Iditarod race — no stranger to route adjustments due to issues such as weather — will instead do a loop, out-and-back across the Alaska Range. There will be no ceremonial start in downtown Anchorage, and the “restart” as it’s usually called, will simply be the race start, with organizers asking fans to stay home.

Short of an in-person celebration this year, Alaska’s News Source has you covered. On the day the Iditarod starts, we’ll be airing recaps and documentaries of past Iditarod races starting at 10:30 a.m., and at 1:30 p.m., we’ll begin our live coverage of the 2021 Iditarod, with the first musher leaving the chute in Willow at 2:00 p.m.

🐾 Want to follow along as mushers race the Iditarod trail? 🐾 This race blog is where the Alaska’s News Source team will...

Posted by Alaska's News Source on Sunday, March 7, 2021

Sunday, March 7 - 10:30am - 12:52pm - Iditarod 2020 - The Tale Continues

A race documentary produced by the Iditarod Insider team at Iditarod.com. Includes highlights of the 2020 Iditarod as teams make the trek through the stark wilderness to cross under the burled arch in Nome, Alaska.

Watch on Channel 2, VUit app live and on-demand

Sunday, March 7 - 12:55pm - 1:28pm - Why They Run

Produced by the Iditarod Insider team at Iditarod.com, an in-depth look at what makes Iditarod dogs special and why they love to run the Iditarod race.

Watch on Channel 2, VUit app live and on-demand

Sunday, March 7 - 1:30pm - 4:00pm - 2021 Iditarod Start

Race coverage of the official live start for Iditarod 2021 from Willow, Alaska.

Watch on Channel 2, VUit app live and on-demand, Alaska’s News Source Facebook and AlaskasNewsSource.com

Daily throughout the race - Watch Alaska’s News Source on Channel 2 and CBS5 for updates in each newscast. These updates will also be available on-demand on VUit.

Date, Time TBD - Iditarod Champion live finish - Watch live on Channel 2, the VUit platforms, and Alaska’s News Source on Facebook and live stream on AlaskasNewsSource.com

READ MORE: How to watch Iditarod 2021

March 7 — 8:47 a.m.

Iditarod 2021 race order

The 49th running of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race kicks off March 7 from Deshka Landing. This year’s race includes 13 women and 34 men, made up of 12 rookies and 35 veterans, representing four different countries.

Four former Iditarod champions are back in the race this year and five mushers have competed in at least 18 Iditarod races.

READ MORE: Iditarod 2021 start list released

March 7 — 8:30 a.m.

Meet the Alaska’s News Source trail team

The reporters bringing you coverage of this year’s race from the Iditarod trail: Patrick Enslow, Sean Maguire, Taylor Clark.

The trail trackers bringing you coverage of this year’s race from the newsroom: Charlie Sokaitis, Beth Verge, Austin Sjong.

The digital producers bringing you coverage of this year’s race online: Elizabeth Roman, Gilbert Cordova.

Follow complete race coverage online at https://www.alaskasnewssource.com/sports/iditarod/.

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