Mushers pulling into Kiana reflect on the race and their positions before setting out on the final leg of the Kobuk 440.
Over the weekend, Kobuk 440 racers found themselves in the middle of the pack — and faced the decision of how they would run the rest of the race.
In Ambler on Friday, Kobuk 440 mushers focused on their dogs’ rest, pacing, and the trail ahead. Near the mid-point of the 440-mile course, it’s still anyone’s race.
In the 2016 running of the Kobuk 440, rookies Jason Mackey, John Vanderwall and Damon Tedford are hitting the trail with dogs, and advice, from well-known race veterans.
Dog teams will pass through six Western Alaska villages. The winner is expected across the finish line on Saturday.
The Nome-Council 200 begins Saturday at 10 a.m. Challenging Nome’s Diana Haecker and Stephanie Johnson is Paul Hansen of Kotzebue.
In Iditarod 44, a combination of high-quality dog care, mental toughness, and resiliency brought many mushers to Nome in record times.
Champion Dallas Seavey also earned top honors, taking home $75,000 and a new truck for his first-place finish.
Thursday night into early Friday morning, Iditarod mushers Melissa Owens Stewart and Tom Jamgochian finished their races — and, in so doing, came home.
When a dog team passes under the Burled Arch at the end of the Iditarod, the work does not end. The team is then escorted to the official dog lot where their next task begins, recuperation.