With a palpable dose of energy and cheer, musher Jessie Royer pulled under the Burled Arch in 7th place Tuesday evening in Nome.
Her good mood may have been out of relief; Royer and fellow Iditarod 2014 musher Ray Redington, Jr. were in close pursuit of each other leading up to the finish. After more than 9 days on the Iditarod trail, they ultimately arrived in Nome less than 8 minutes apart.
For Royer, the close finish may have invoked a case of déjà vu. In the 2011 Iditarod, she was on the losing end of a photo-finish arrival in which musher Ken Anderson bested her – by only a half-second – for 9th place.
This year, however, it was Royer who stayed in front of Redington. Under the Burled Arch, she told KNOM that “until I cross this finish line, nothing’s final.” Even though she didn’t see Redington immediately nipping at her heels during the final trail leg into Nome, she wasn’t going to let up. “I sure as hell wasn’t going to quit pushing… I wanted to make sure.”
With a live broadcast from Anna Rose MacArthur, Ric Schmidt, Emily Bieniek, and David Dodman, hear Jessie Royer and Ray Redington, Jr. finish Iditarod 42, in 7th and 8th place: