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Jeff King scratches

Jeff King, talking to the press

Shortly after arriving in White Mountain, a palpably tired Jeff King talks with the press, early Monday morning.

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.

8 Responses to “Jeff King scratches”

  1. Carol Burkert

    What an unbelievable ending to a great race for Jeff and his dogs. His strategy for running and resting worked very well. It is obvious that he places the safety of his team above his desire to win

    • djadjaNick

      Well, in terms of safety, the only option would have been to get out of there quick, if only he could….I guess that winning the Iditarod takes not only a great dog team and some expert strategy, but also leaders able to mush through storms like that….It is a dramatic finish and – to my mind- all top 3 would have equally deserved to win !!!

  2. fred furlong

    so close but so far……could he have rested while winds were horrible?

  3. chunkey monkey

    What a hero he is!! BRAVO!!! To put the safety of his magnificent team above the win….that’s the true Alaskan Spirit. Im a fan! I’m sure the other two know….Jeff wld of won…..they both just got lucky that he put his dogs well being first. IMO…the seasoned musher knows best….not to push the dogs thru those types of conditions…but that mentality doesn’t come with a 50 thousand dollar check….

  4. Ethan

    I would have waited till the storm passed. If he cant do it, then nobody can. I’m not trying to be mean but that was a stupid choice. I respect his opinion for quitting but it was stupid

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