Iron Dog racers Brad George and Robby Schachle, were the first in the race to leave Unalakleet the morning of Feb. 24, checking out at 9:45 a.m. They opted for a layover time of 8 hours, allowing them to check out before the first and second position teams, who both declared 13 hour layovers. When they checked out, they were in third position, but recently team nine, Shane Barber and Troy Conlon overtook them in terms of course time, putting them in fourth position.
First position team, Tyler Aklestad and Nick Olstad, checked out of Unalakleet 35 minutes later than George and Schachle, at 10:19 a.m., after completing their 13-hour layover. They still maintain an hour-long lead over the team in second position: Nome’s own Mike Morgan and his partner Chris Olds who checked out of Unalakleet most recently at 11:20 a.m.
At the time of this article’s publication, both third position team Shane Barber and Troy Conlon, and fifth position team Bradley Kishbaugh and Kelly Sommer are still on their layover time in Unalakleet.
Team Aklestand and Olstad and team George and Schachle have already made it to Kaltag.
While Aklestad and Olstad and Morgan and Olds maintain strong leads in first and second position, competition for the bottom three positions of the top five is rife. The course time between Barber and Conlon in third position and Kishbaugh and Sommer in fifth position is only fifty minutes.
Tom Davis and Zack Weisz, who were in fifth position this morning, have dropped to sixth position since Conlon and Barber rocketed from sixth position to third position.
Team Jordan and Jarvis Miller have remained in seventh position while Nome’s father son duo, Even and Steffen Booth have been racing neck and neck with team 12, Christopher Collins and Douglas Wicken, who are racing the Iron Dog to promote suicide awareness and prevention. The two teams checked into Unalakleet just 11 minutes apart with Collins and Wicken in 8th position and Booth and Booth in 9th position.
When team 14, Casey Boylen and Brian Leslie scratched in Nome, after Leslie sustained an injury coming into Nome on Sunday, they left 17 racers still in the game. So far, eleven teams have scratched from Iron Dog.
Image at top: Iron Dog Racers departed from Unalakleet on Feb. 24. Photo courtesy of Iron Dog Facebook page (2022).