Iditarod 2019, Day 7: Jockeying on the Yukon
Iditarod’s lead mushers pushed to the Yukon River checkpoints as Thursday night turned into Friday morning. Nicolas Petit was first to Anvik, but other mushers remain competitive as the sun heads toward the horizon Friday night.
Here’s a recap of KNOM’s coverage of Iditarod on Friday, March 8.
- The trail from the Ophir to Iditarod checkpoints was grueling and physically demanding, multiple mushers confirmed while resting in the unusual, “ghost town” checkpoint. Read more in Ben Matheson’s report “After Punishing Trail, Mushers Rest at Race’s Namesake: the ‘Ghost Town’ of Iditarod.”
- Iditarod mushers choosing to take their mandatory rests in different checkpoints (24-hour and 8-hour on the Yukon) often results in a continuous shuffling of the top positions of the leaderboard. While Nicolas Petit was first to Anvik, Joar Leifseth Ulsom was first to the previous checkpoint, Shageluk. For both Ulsom and Petit, the timing of when to rest continues to loom large, Ben reports; read more: “In Shageluk, Iditarod Leaders Have the Yukon in Their Sights.”
- Aside from Joar Leifseth Ulsom’s competitive ambitions — a 2019 championship would make it two in a row after his 2018 run — the Norwegian musher is also running the Last Great Race in tribute to his friend, the late musher Rudy Demoski, nicknamed the “Happy Musher.” Read more in “To Anvik, Ulsom Carries Ashes of the ‘Happy Musher’: Rudy Demoski.”
- Nicolas Petit arrived to the Yukon River in the wee hours of Friday morning. As the first to Anvik, he won a dual prize of $3,000 and a meal prepared by chefs flown in from an Anchorage hotel. Alaska Public Media’s Zachariah Hughes has the story in “Nic Petit Is First to the Yukon.”
- Behind Nicolas Petit, on the leaderboard, is a phalanx of competitive Iditarod veterans (as of 6pm Friday night, the top five is Petit, Joar Leifseth Ulsom, Jessie Royer, Pete Kaiser, and Mitch Seavey, respectively). Ben explains more in his Friday night story “Nipping at Petit’s Heels, Mushers Strategize Rest to Keep Chase into the Yukon.”
The latest weather report from UAF climatologist Rick Thoman:
Below: photos from Zachariah Hughes of the unique, “ghost town” checkpoint of Iditarod. Read Friday morning’s story from Iditarod for more.