In a stunning turn of events, musher Jeff King has scratched from Iditarod 42.
The musher, who was in a commanding lead mere hours ago – a lead that, in most Iditarod years, would have been likely insurmountable – was stopped just shy of the Safety checkpoint by severely strong winds. According to Iditarod.com’s Joe Runyan, a gust blew his team off the trail and dissuaded his dogs from moving forward, even after King had “untangled” them.
In a race marked with superlative challenges, this is an almost unbelievable development for the competitor who, Monday afternoon, departed White Mountain poised to win an Iditarod championship.
The official Iditarod press release on Jeff King’s scratch follows below.
Safety, Alaska – Monday, March 10, 2014 – Jeff King (bib #17) of Denali Park, Alaska, scratched from Iditarod XLII at 11:50 p.m. this evening, approximately 3.7 miles before reaching Safety.
King indicated to Race Officials that the wind is severe in the area and he was having difficulty navigating the trail. He stayed with his team for approximately two and one half hours before asking a snowmachiner to help him by taking him to the Safety checkpoint to contact race officials. Jeff and others are moving the team to the Safety checkpoint for the night.