96.1 FM, 780 AM, Yours for Western Alaska

6 p.m. Update – Mackey and Company in Front.

14 teams are out of Aniak moving through Whitefish Lake area. After completing their 6-hour rest in Kalskag, the top teams blazed through the Aniak checkpoint to begin the second half of the race.

Lance Mackey was first out of Aniak, but two other mushers—Rohn Buser, and defending champion Paul Gebhardt— were within 10 minutes.  The next 4 teams: Ray Redington Jr, Pete Kaiser, Ramey Smyth, and Ken Anderson all left within an hour of Mackey.

The front of the pack is still tight, but there is beginning to be some separation as they make their way through punchy snow.  The leaders may make it back to Kalskag by 8 or 9 o’clock tonight.

As of 6 p.m., GPS tracking showed Mackey, Gebhart, and Rohn Buser running close together as they turned north (into the wind) to reconnect with the river at Kalskag.

Scott Smith is finishing up his rest in Aniak.  Smith was eligible to depart at 5:16.  Louie  Ambrose took his 6-hour in Kalskag, and opted to spend a few extra hours in Aniak.  All mushers have a mandatory 4-hour rest at Tuluksak before beginning the final sprint into Bethel.