Six mushers have seen their journey in this year’s Iditarod sled dog race come to an end in the past 24 hours. The latest to announce was Robert Redington, who chose to scratch in Elim last night.
Robert, the brother of top ten finisher Ryan Redington, said through an Iditarod press release, he made the decision in the best interest of his race team.
Since the 2020 Iditarod crowned its champion Thomas Waerner, early Wednesday morning, Redington and four other mushers have scratched from the race. All except Meredith Mapes cited the best interest of their team as the reason for their decisions. Those other mushers were Gabe Dunham, John Schandelmeier, and Karin Hendrickson.
According to a statement from Iditarod, Mapes said she scratched due to personal health reasons.
Separately, Quince Mountain, the rookie musher from Wisconsin who is married to Iditarod veteran Blair Braverman, was involuntarily withdrawn from the 2020 Iditarod. According to race marshal Mark Nordman, Mountain was taken out of the race due to his lack of competitiveness. Nordman cited race rule #36 which says a team may be withdrawn if they are, “out of the competition and are not in a position to make a valid effort to compete.”
The factors considered in this decision may include weather, trail conditions, and the overall pace of the race when the race marshal invokes this rule. A musher whose conduct, constitutes an unreasonable risk of harm to him/her, dogs or other persons may also be withdrawn.
Mountain had a full team of 14 dogs in Unalakleet Wednesday morning, just after 11:30am, when he was withdrawn from the race.
That now leaves 40 mushers remaining in a field that started with 57 more than a week ago during the official race start in Willow on March 8th.
19 mushers have already crossed the finish line, with Tom Frode Johansen being the latest to arrive under the burled arch in Nome at 5:37 this morning.
Image at top: The burled arch and chute at the finish line of the 2020 Iditarod in Nome as final touches were made. Photo by Kjersti ‘KJ’ McElwee, KNOM.