Photo: KNOM file.

The count of scratches from this year’s Yukon Quest is up to five so far, and just like that, all Western Alaska mushers are out of the race.

Yesterday evening at 5:45pm, Ryne Olson was the latest to scratch from the 1,000-mile international sled dog race. According to a statement from Quest staff, Olson made the decision for the health and well-being of her team. Earlier in the day, Mark Stamm also elected to stop racing for the same reasons once he reached the Central checkpoint.

Ike Underwood of Aniak was the fourth musher in a span of 24 hours to drop out of the race yesterday. According to the Quest, Underwood activated his race-tracking device and requested assistance almost 25 miles outside of the Circle checkpoint. Quest staff say Underwood and his dogs were found to be in good health, but the Quest rookie decided to withdraw for his safety and that of his team.

Now the remaining 21 mushers are all on the 160-mile stretch, somewhere between Circle and Eagle, Alaska. Allen Moore maintains the lead and is about 30 miles away from Eagle, according to the GPS tracker. The leaderboard shows that Paige Drobny is holding second position, while Matt Hall, Laura Neese, and Ed Hopkins are in third through fifth respectively.

(Stay tuned to KNOM’s newscasts for the next 2018 Yukon Quest race update and the latest information about this year’s field of mushers.)