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Near Nome’s doorstep, hometown musher Burmeister slowed by dogs’ health

In Koyuk, likely less than 48 hours before his finish in Iditarod 2013, veteran musher Aaron Burmeister succinctly summarized his team’s status: the dogs are “still not healthy.”

For Burmeister, it’s been a race in which his team’s wellness, or its lack thereof – his dogs have had bouts of diarrhea, in particular – has been a chronic issue. For the Nome musher, improving his dogs’ health has been elusive; just when the dogs seem to be improving and ready to hit the trail, they’ll relapse.

“There’s just no power there,” he tells KNOM in his Koyuk interview with trail reporter Laureli Kinneen. “It’s really heartbreaking for me, because we came here with a team capable of winning this race.”

As for the checkpoints still to come, Burmeister says “I’d still love to win this race, but I can only do what the dogs are going to be capable of doing, and I can’t ask them to do more than that. Being ‘flat’ right now – not having that extra power, that extra energy – it’s very hard to race them.”

 

As of 4pm Monday, Aaron Burmeister is in 5th position. With 11 dogs, he departed Koyuk at 1:37pm – part of a group of mushers to leave the checkpoint that included Aliy Zirkle (3rd position, departed Koyuk at 1:23pm) and Ray Redington, Jr. (4th position, departed at 1:28pm).