72 teams will compete on this year’s trail from Fairbanks to Nome. The race begins in 12 days, with the ceremonial start on March 4th.
The Iditarod Trail Committee made the announcement yesterday, September 26th, citing health reasons for Mackey’s decision.
Sign-ups for the next year’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race began Saturday. 40 veterans and 12 rookies are on the list so far to compete in 2017.
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.
Not many Iditarod mushers have spent much rest time in McGrath this year; but not everyone took off immediately, either.
It’s a “turning point in the race,” Dallas Seavey says, as mushers adjust their schedules and begin to take their mandatory, 24-hour layovers.
“At least I don’t have a fever,” Allen Moore says. “One year, I had a 104º fever. That was bad.”
Watch three videos of Lance and Jason Mackey discussing dog deaths, saving another musher’s team, and if they have another 1,000-mile race left.
From halfway awards to best dog care to rookie of the year, the annual banquet that closes the Iditarod allowed mushers to tell stories about their own Last Great Race.
The brothers have been traveling as a duo since Tanana, where Lance Mackey’s hands first gave him trouble in the sub-zero temperatures. But Jason Mackey says he isn’t doing his brother any favors — he’s just lucky to be learning from an Iditarod legend.