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As Iron Dog Nears Unalakleet, Morgan/Olds Keep Slim Lead Over Boylan/Leslie

Snowmachine racer speeds up snow ramp, racing off of Bering Sea ice.

Only 5 minutes separate the leading two teams in this year’s Iron Dog race: Mike Morgan and Chris Olds in first, and Casey Boylan and Bryan Leslie in second.

Morgan/Olds checked out of Koyuk at 10:53 Thursday morning, with Boylan/Leslie following at 10:58. According to the GPS tracker, as of 12 noon, Morgan/Olds have just under 30 miles to their next stop: Unalakleet.

The racers are back on the trail after about a day and a half spent at the halfway point in Nome. Yesterday afternoon, during the racers’ garage time in Nome, Mike Morgan was well rested and ready to take on the next, 1,000-mile leg of the race back to Fairbanks.

“It’s been good. Got some good rest last night, and you know, the weather came in, so we’re gonna have to battle that going back toward Fairbanks, but yeah, all’s good, the sleds are pretty clean…”

As Morgan mentions, weather conditions might make the return trip to Fairbanks tricky: it was stormy as racers left Nome at 8:00 this morning, and those conditions continue in Unalakleet, where visibility is only at a half-mile currently.

Also checked into Koyuk are Adam Drinkouse/George Brad in position three, and Scott Faeo/Robby Schachle, currently in fourth. Unlike the top three, Faeo/Schachle opted to take a 10-hour layover in Koyuk, getting half of their 20 hours of remaining mandatory rest out of the way early on in the second leg of the race. This might be a strategy of theirs, as early on the duo opted for 6 hours of rest at Skwentna and just the mandatory 8 at McGrath, while most other teams took all 14 hours of rest at McGrath.

Six other teams are currently on their way to Koyuk, and the remaining 5 have checked out of Nome and trek to White Mountain. The GPS shows Nome’s own Jarvis Miller/Amos Cruise currently under 30 miles to Koyuk. They’re currently in position 7.

Tune into KNOM at 5pm for your next detailed race update.

Image at top: Iron Dog 2019 competitor Casey Boylan, part of team #14, arrives at the Nome halfway point on Tuesday, Feb. 19. Photo: Davis Hovey, KNOM.