Iditarod Day 16: Hardwick finishes last, earning the Red Lantern award

Published: Mar. 18, 2019 at 9:54 AM AKDT
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After a long-fought battle, musher Victoria Hardwick, racing under bib 30, crossed the finish line under the burled arch in Nome.

Hardwick, 33, was born and raised in Colville, Washington, according to the Iditarod website. She completed the race at 1:51 p.m. on Monday, making her total time 14 days, 22 hours, 51 minutes, and 49 seconds.

She will be awarded the Red Lantern Award, given to the musher who completes the Iditarod in last place.

Hardwick, a rookie Iditarod competitor, moved to Alaska five years ago "to mush sled dogs and practice public health dentistry in the Bush," the Iditarod wrote in her bio.

With the completion of Hardwick, the 2019 Iditarod race is officially over. In total, 39 mushers completed the race, and 13 mushers scratched, or dropped out of competition.

Original Story:

A veteran musher scratched from the Iditarod at the final checkpoint Monday, as the race's last musher on the trail made her way to Nome.

Cindy Gallea, a 67-year-old race veteran, scratched at 12:00 a.m. Monday in Safety, the race's final checkpoint.

A release from Iditarod race officials said she made the decision in the best interest of her team. She had seven dogs in harness when she made the decision. She'd been running with 7 dogs since Koyuk. It took Gallea 22 hours and 32 minutes to make the run from White Mountain to Safety.

At the ceremonial start in Anchorage, Gallea told Channel 2 that despite what she's said in the past, this will probably be her last Iditarod. "I'm getting older," she said. "It gets harder when you get older."

Gallea said she ran some young dogs this year that she plans to hand off to another musher she's been mentoring so the dogs will have seen the trail before.

Rookie Victoria Hardwick, of Bethel, is now the last Iditarod musher on the trail. She checked out of White Mountain at 1:34 Sunday afternoon.