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Top Two Leaders Close in on Braeburn, Red Lantern Through 600 Miles of 1,000 Mile Race

Brent Sass and Michelle Phillips remain neck-and-neck as the leaders of the 2020 Yukon Quest bear down on Braeburn, the race’s final checkpoint.

Officially, Phillips remains in first position after checking out of Carmacks this morning at exactly midnight, narrowly avoiding turning into a pumpkin. While the veteran musher is no Cinderella candidate in the 2020 Quest, she is facing steep competition down the stretch from reigning champion Brent Sass. Phillips is still looking for her first Quest win while Sass seeks number three.

As of 12pm AKST, according to the race’s GPS tracker, Sass is currently in first position with approximately one-hundred miles to go before the trail finishes in Whitehorse.

Both mushers have kept eleven dogs on the line up to this point, after Sass dropped one of his favorites at Pelly Crossing. Speaking to our partners at KUAC Radio, he explained his decision.

“Jeep just can’t keep the pace. He did good, but time to let him go.”

– Brent Sass

As of this update, American Cody Strathe is the only other musher out of the Carmacks checkpoint. He checked out this morning at 8:42 AM AKST, but not before dropping another dog. His team’s nine are the fewest dogs of any musher’s team left in the field. (*Allen Moore arrived into Carmacks just after 1pm AKST).

Rookie Olivia Webster continues to hold onto the race’s Red Lantern position. According to the live tracker, Webster just crossed the trail’s six-hundred-mile marker.

The first mushers to check into Braeburn will enjoy partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the low single digits today. The final checkpoint is also the race’s final layover: mushers must rest for at least eight hours before they can make the final push to Whitehorse.

Image at top: Cody Strathe and team approach Carmacks checkpoint in 2020 Yukon Quest. Photo from Whitney McLaren, Yukon Quest, used with permission.