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Quest Leaders Set to Depart Dawson Late Wednesday

Portrait of a sled dog in harness with blurred background
A sled dog in the Dawson City checkpoint. Photo: Julien Schroder, Yukon Quest; used with permission.

23 of the 30 mushers in Yukon Quest 2019 have safely made it into Dawson City and are now resting a mandatory 36 hours before the race starts back up again. The top five will be eligible to leave late tonight, having mostly arrived in Dawson City just over 24 hours ago.

Current first position holder Brent Sass checked into Dawson at 11:24 PST yesterday morning (Tuesday) — meaning he’ll finish up his mandatory rest and be able to leave Dawson at around 11:30 PST tonight. Michelle Phillips, in second position, can follow him out around 20 minutes later tonight. Right behind her will be Hans Gatt, Allen Moore, and Paige Drobny, assuming teams leave Dawson as soon as they’ve completed their rest and are eligible to get back on the trail.

Brent Sass won the Yukon Quest back in 2015. He scratched in 2017 and took a break from the Quest last year. In an interview with APRN, he says he’s surprised he made it into Dawson first yesterday:

“I put a schedule together going into this race, and I had no intentions of being here first, but here we are. The dogs are doing great. They’ve really been able to maintain their speed. We’ve been resting longer, and yeah, it’s been a great race, overall.”

Looking farther back on the trail, seven mushers are still making their way to Dawson City. That includes Canadian Remy Leduc, who, according to the official leaderboard, holds the Red Lantern position; he checked out of Pelly Crossing yesterday morning (Tuesday) at 5:41 PST.

For Leduc, who’s a Yukon Quest rookie, it’s all about crossing the finish line. According to his Quest biography, it’s been his dream to run the Quest for about 9 years since he started his kennel.

The remaining mushers venturing the 200 miles from Pelly Crossing to Dawson are making their way slowly but stealthily. There are no scratches just yet, which is likely thanks to the favorable conditions Race Marshal Doug Harris has attested to. And later tonight, we can expect the top 5 to take on the next part of the trail: 150 miles into Eagle, Alaska.

Tune into KNOM (780 AM, 96.1 FM) for the next detailed Yukon Quest race update at 5pm today.

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