Iditarod 2022 Trail Report: Sass on fast pace, but 2022 Iditarod not headed for record finish

Race winner could cross under the burled arch early Tuesday morning
The first two mushers have made it to White Mountain in the 50th running of the Iditarod.
Published: Mar. 14, 2022 at 6:17 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - While Brent Sass is on a fast pace at the front of the 2022 Iditarod — arriving in White Mountain before the checkpoint had even been fully set up — he’s not on pace for a record-setting race.

The fastest Iditarod is noted as Mitch Seavey in 2017 when he finished in 8 days, 3 hours, 40 minutes and 13 seconds. That race was run along a Fairbanks-to-Nome route.

The fastest finish in a Northern route year, which hits the checkpoints of Cripple, Ruby, Galena, and Nulato, was in 2016 by five-time champion Dallas Seavey, Mitch’s son. That year, he finished in 8 days 11 hours 20 minutes and 16 seconds. Of Dallas Seavey’s five Iditarod titles, three of the victories have been on the northern route, and he holds three of the five fastest finishes ever on the route.

YearWinnerRace Time
2016Dallas Seavey8d 11h 20m 16s
2014Dallas Seavey8d 13h 4m 19s
2002Martin Buser8d 22h 46m 2s
2010Lance Mackey8d 23h 59m 9s
2014Dallas Seavey9d 4h 29m 26s

The Northern route is approximately 975 miles long (compared to the Southern route’s 988).

In White Mountain on Monday, Sass said he’s had a good race, but that it’s not over yet.

“We stuck to our game plan and we ran our own race, and we weren’t worried about anybody else around us,” Sass told the Alaska’s News Source team. “I think we just did our own game plan and stuck to it the whole way and we were just a little bit faster than everybody else — to this point. There’s still 77 miles to go to the finish line.”

Seavey, once he arrived two and a half hours later, seemed resigned to not seize victory this year.

“Unless something goes wrong, I don’t think so,” he said when asked if he could win the race.

But something has gone wrong before. In 2016, Sass checked out of White Mountain in third place, but his dogs weren’t ready. Race records show his travel time from White Mountain to Safety as 24 hours and 37 minutes. He finished in 20th place.

Dallas Seavey won the race that year. This year, Seavey said his team getting sick during the race was the obstacle to overcome, and that being in second position was a respectable place to be.

“Our challenges this year didn’t happen to be the competition,” Seavey said. “t was getting over sickness and that sort of stuff, but we succeeded at that. We’re here, we have a pretty solid lead over third, and I’m really proud of that.”

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