The Last Great Race is replete with examples of family dynasties – of children, parents, siblings, and spouses following their loved ones down the Iditarod Trail – but in this year’s race, something a bit rarer is unfolding: a father-and-son team literally chasing each other from one checkpoint to the next.
On Wednesday, there were two mushers named Mike Williams racing in the Iditarod, and both were taking their 24-hour layover in the Takotna checkpoint, where they took some time to talk with KNOM’s Laureli Kinneen.
From Akiak, Alaska, 62-year-old Mike Williams, Sr. has competed in 14 Iditarods before this year, but he says that the 2013 race is something different, something “very special.”
“It’s once-in-a-lifetime,” Mike, Sr. says of Iditarod 41. “I’m honored to be traveling with my son.”
His goal for this “special” race is simple: to finish it.
And as he shared with Laureli, he’s full of gratitude for those who are making that possible:
In our interview, Mike Williams, Jr. also talked about the chance to mush alongside his father, as well as more pragmatic concerns in the first half of his 2013 race.
The younger Williams has experienced health issues among his dogs – diarrhea, notably – and was hoping for their rapid recovery during his 24-hour layover in Takotna.
“If they come back healthy,” Williams, Jr. told KNOM’s Laureli Kinneen, “then we’ll get down the trail faster than if they’re sick.”
As of 8:30pm on Wednesday, both Mike, Sr. and Mike, Jr. are finishing their 24-hour layovers in the Takotna checkpoint.
Mike Williams, Sr. is currently in 30th position; he arrived into Takotna with 15 dogs at 7:43am Wednesday morning and will be eligible to depart at 8:47am on Thursday (after factoring in his starting differential from Sunday’s re-start in Willow).
Mike Williams, Jr. is in 28th position; with 14 dogs, he arrived in Takotna at 5:19am Wednesday and will be eligible to depart at 6:01am Thursday.