Iditarod 2022 Trail Report: Mushers begin declaring 24-hour layovers

Iditarod mushers have begun declaring their 24 hour layovers, which means the real race is about to start shaping up.
Published: Mar. 9, 2022 at 1:50 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Some of the lead mushers in the 50th running of the Iditarod have begun declaring their 24-hour layovers.

Aaron Burmeister, who was the first musher to reach the Kuskokwim River checkpoint of McGrath, said he was planning to continue on the trail to Cripple, but thought better of it as he tried to get some rest himself.

“I was laying there taking a nap and I couldn’t sleep, I was laying there thinking you know, we’ve run the dogs through a lot of heat since the start, we’ve run through some of the most hellacious moguls I’ve seen, in a lifetime,” Burmeister told an Iditarod Insider crew. “It reminds me of when I was a kid running dogs in Nome out on the ocean and running through jumble ice. We’ve done about 140 miles of jumble ice getting here to McGrath.”

The 20-time Iditarod finisher, who trains in Nenana but calls Nome home, said the moguls on the trail took a toll on him and the dogs, and that the timing of taking his 24-hour layover in McGrath would allow him to hit the trail in the evening as things are cooling down, rather than in the heat of the day.

Matt Hall also declared his layover in McGrath. He told Alaska’s News Source that his run wasn’t going as planned, due to the warm weather and challenging trail, but that his “Plan B” had included shipping supplies for a 24-hour layover to McGrath. “So it works out to stay a little bit early.”

According to video posted to the Iditarod Insider, Jessie Holmes has declared his 24-hour layover in Ophir. Race standings don’t reflect a musher’s layover until they have completed it.

Iditarod mushers are required to take a 24-hour layover at an official race checkpoint during the race. This layover is where the time differential from the start of the race will be applied. Mushers must also take one 8-hour rest along the Yukon River, and an 8-hour rest at White Mountain.

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