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In Anchorage, right before the start: Zirkle, Jonrowe, and Ambrose

Aliy Zirkle’s team is fresh from a win with husband Allen Moore at the Yukon Quest this year. Her dogs are well-trained, in great shape, and have seen this race before. Zirkle says she’s running the same team as last year, when she finished in second position, and almost the same team as 2011. She realizes the trail is long and can bring surprises, but tells KNOM’s Laureli Kinneen, “Hopefully 1000 miles will be simply, a fast 1000 miles.” She’s excited to get to Nome.

 

DeeDee Jonrowe is happy to be on the trail again this year, and sees it as a big “family reunion.” But at the race start, she told KNOM’s Laureli Kinneen that she could win this race. After a top-10 finish last year, DeeDee can taste victory. She says many mushers in the field are poised for a first-place finish, and the chips just have to fall into place. She counts herself as a powerful contender for a win. “You gotta be ready. You gotta be poised. You gotta have done your homework. You gotta spend time on your knees. You gotta know what you’re planning for, and we’ve done that. We’ve done the hard work.”

This year, she’s ready.

 

St. Michael’s Louis Ambrose is excited to keep father-in-law Jerry Austin’s name in the Iditarod. Iditarod veteran Jerry Austin inspired Ambrose to pick up mushing, and he told KNOM’s Laureli Kinneen, “I kind of felt like it was my obligation to the Austins to carry on his name.” Ambrose is excited to be headed back toward Western Alaska. After training two months in Willow, he knows his kids are going to be waiting for him at the finish. “That’s my incentive to get there as quick as I can.”

 

At the time of posting, Aliy Zirkle is in third position into Rainy Pass this morning at 9:19. Dee Dee Jonrowe is in fifth position, into Rainy Pass at 10:11am. Louis Ambrose is into Finger Lake as of 8:33am.