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Jeff King scratches

Jeff King, talking to the press

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.


  1. […] Our post on Jeff King’s scratch includes the full, official press release from the Iditarod Trail […]

  2. Carol Burkert on March 11, 2014 at 2:49 am

    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 on March 11, 2014 at 7:07 am

      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 !!!

  3. […] Our post on Jeff King’s scratch includes the full, official press release from the Iditarod Trail […]

  4. Robert Shurtleff (@rgsiii) on March 11, 2014 at 6:14 am

    My heart is broken for Jeff and team! We are huge fans of his. The conditions must have been unfathomable to us down here in the lower 48.

  5. fred furlong on March 11, 2014 at 10:21 am

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

  6. chunkey monkey on March 11, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    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….

  7. Ethan on March 13, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    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