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Iditarod Mushers Brent Sass and Dallas Seavey First to Leave Nikolai

Aerial View of Nikolai on the South Fork of the Kuskokwim River (Photo: The Iditarod, 2006).

Aliy Zirkle’s race is over after an injury forced her to be helicoptered off the trail for medical care. Race officials say Zirkle suffered a “significant impact” while racing that left her with a concussion and injuries to her upper torso.

They haven’t said exactly what happened to Zirkle, but she and her 14 dogs had been racing between the checkpoints of Rainy Pass and Rohn. This stretch of trail is known for its treacherous terrain, including the steep and winding Dalzell Gorge.

Zirkle was flown to an Anchorage hospital, and was released today in stable condition. Officials say she’s resting in Anchorage with family. Her dogs are not injured and will also be flown to the city.

The leaders have arrived to Nikolai at mile 263. Brent Sass and Dallas Seavey were the first to leave there, stopping only for a few short minutes. But there are 15 other teams also at Nikolai and heading to McGrath.  Mushers are thinking about mandatory breaks, but also thinking about their strategies for winning the “Last Great Race.”

For more details, listen to the March 9th, 2pm KNOM Iditarod Update:

Image at Top: Brent Sass Team Side By Side With Another in Nikolai. Photo: Davis Hovey, KNOM (2020).

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