Iditarod 2014: Daily Results, Updated Schedule Info and More

Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistMarch 1, 2014

Iditarod 2014: Daily Results, Updated Schedule Info and More

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    Dan Joling/Associated Press

    Mushers and their sled-dog teams tackled almost 1,000 miles of wilderness in the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, one of the sporting world's most fabled annual events, and it was 27-year-old Dallas Seavey that took home his second career victory.

    The test of endurance officially began on March 2 and culminated with a wild drag race to the finish line on March 11. Fan favorite Aliy Zirkle was forced to settle for a second-place finish.

    Speaking of the course, warm weather caused a bit of controversy this year at the event. According to Beth Bragg of the Anchorage Daily News (account required), the abnormal weather returned for the race:

    Ice, open water, soft snow and no snow await dog teams as they begin the race to Nome this weekend. High temperatures -- which in early February threatened to move the start of the race north to Fairbanks -- returned with a vengeance Thursday and could compromise several weeks' worth of volunteer labor on the trail.

    Despite the weather, 69 sleds started the race in hopes of earning a heavier portion of the $650,000 prize pool. This year was especially exciting as almost a fourth of the participants were rookies.

    Now two-time champion Seavey helped to explain what makes the race itself so special before the event began, via Steve Quinn of Reuters:

    The unique thing about the Iditarod is there is no norm. It's not like NASCAR racing cars going around a track. You and your dogs are overcoming tremendous variables and adversity. That's what this race is about.

    Seavey will be honored on March 16 at the awards banquet. Iditarod mushers and fans will need that down time to recover from such a wild finish.

March 12 Update

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    Mark Thiessen/Associated Press

    While Dallas Seavey came away with a narrow win over Aliy Zirkle, the story of the Iditarod goes beyond just the winners. In reality, it takes a great deal of skill just to finish the race.

    Of the 50 mushers still in the competition, 15 have come across the finish line in under 10 days. Martin Buser, Jessie Royer, Ray Redington Jr., Hans Gatt, Aaron Burmeister, Michael Williams Jr., Ken Anderson, Peter Kaiser, Richie Diehl and Matt Failor were the latest to complete the journey on the ninth day.

    Kaiser came back with the most dogs at 13, more than anyone else remaining in the top 35 spots. Conversely, Burmeister had only seven dogs on his way back to Nome.

    There were five more riders at the Safety checkpoint who are expecting to finish the race before too long, ending the grueling run that is considered by many to be one of the toughest physical events in the world.

    Anyone who crosses the finish line—whether they are first or 50th—deserve recognition for a great achievement.

March 11 Update

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    2014 Iditarod Champion Dallas Seavey
    2014 Iditarod Champion Dallas SeaveyMark Thiessen/Associated Press

    In one of the most stunning final runs to the finish line, it was 27-year-old Dallas Seavey that took home his second career Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, just hours after taking the lead.

    He finished the race in eight days, 13 hours, four minutes and 19 seconds.

    Seavey took home the $50,000 first-place prize and was awarded a new truck for the victory.

    Female musher Aliy Zirkle, who led coming into the final two checkpoints, was forced to settle for a second-place finish. This was the third time in Zirkle’s career that she had to settle for a runner-up spot instead of the victory.

    Four-time champion Jeff King was forced to drop out of the race before the final checkpoint after weather conditions proved to be too much for the veteran musher. The Iditarod governing body released a statement on the situation that developed overnight, via Kyle Hopkins of the Anchorage Daily News:

    King indicated to Race Officials that the wind is severe in the area and he was having difficulty navigating the trail. He stayed with his team for approximately two and one half hours before asking a snowmachiner to help him by taking him to the Safety checkpoint to contact race officials. Jeff and others are moving the team to the Safety checkpoint for the night.

    Zirkle had the race all but locked up once King withdrew, but Seavey’s decision to take a three-minute stop during the safety checkpoint was the ultimate difference maker. While Zirkle took an eight-hour break, Seavey only stayed for a moment and was able to gain the lead and steal the win.

    After well over eight days of racing across almost 1,000 miles of course, the time difference between first and second place was just over two minutes. This is what Iditarod is all about.

     

    *Stats via Ididarod.com.

March 10 Update

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    Mark Thiessen/Associated Press

    The final stages of the Iditarod have turned into a two-person race, as Jeff King and Aliy Zirkle are fighting for supremacy in the treacherous conditions.

    Each arrived at the second-to-last checkpoint Monday, and Zirkle left the White Mountain checkpoint 58 minutes after the leader King.

    White Mountain is a mere 77 miles from the finish line in Nome, and if both King and Zirkle keep up their record pace, we could see them reach the finish line early Tuesday morning.

    If King does win, he will tie Rick Swenson’s record of five Iditarod victories. On the other hand, Zirkle is trying to become the first woman to win the race since Susan Butcher in 1990. Butcher happens to be a four-time champion as well.

    Zirkle recognized that she has a lot of support in comments made to Associated Press reporters that were passed along by the Seattle Times: “I know I have a lot fans rooting for me. Believe me, I am trying.”

    Check back for updates and to see who ultimately takes home the title.

March 9 Results

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    Mark Thiessen/Associated Press

    In hot pursuit of his fifth Iditarod crown, Jeff King slammed the door shut on any advantage two time runner up Aliy Zirkle had as the two pulled into the checkpoint in Koyuk on March 9.

    Zirkle technically has the lead and reached the checkpoint exactly a minute before the Iditarod legend, but King and his 12 dogs covered the 50-mile trip from Shaktoolik in a faster time than Zirkle and her 11-dog team.

    Martin Buser, who had previously traded the lead on and off with Zirkle for more than 250 miles entering Shaktoolik, currently sits in third.

    As it stands now, both Zirkle and King are on a record-setting pace and will hit White Mountain on Sunday night, where they are required to layover for eight hours before heading to Nome to hit the finish line.

March 8 Results

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    AL Grillo/Associated Press

    Aliy Zirkle finished second in the last two Iditarods, and she’s doing everything in her power to finally finish first this year. Zirkle overtook Martin Buser for the lead and left the Kaltag checkpoint almost two-and-a-half hours before anybody else.

    Zirkle only took a seven-minute “rest” at the Kaltag checkpoint before departing, which allowed her to create such a cushion between herself and the four-time champion (Buser). Time will tell if that short pit stop was the right decision, as Zirkle is down to 12 dogs on her quest to become the first woman since 1990 to win the race.

    If she can continue her brisk pace, however, she will be able to hold on. Her average speed to the Kaltag checkpoint was 11 miles per hour while Buser traveled at 10.6 miles per hour according to the Associated Press.

    Buser was second out of Kaltag, and the grizzled veteran has more than enough experience to make up the ground. Buser has 28 consecutive Iditarod finishes—the most in the race’s history.

    Buser was in first place after Friday’s action, but a solid day’s work by Zirkle gave her the lead as we draw close to the end of the “The Last Great Race.”

    After Zirkle and Buser is a clump of racers relatively close together. Nicolas Pettit is third, while Sonny Lindner and Jeff King round out the top five.

     

    Note: Full race results can be found on the race’s official website

March 7 Results

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    Mark Thiessen/Associated Press

    As expected, Martin Buser regained the Iditarod lead on Friday, but it was not how most expected it. Buser was the third musher into the Ruby checkpoint on Thursday, but he was still expected to be the first one out. 

    The two mushers who beat Buser to Ruby, Jeff King and Sonny Lindner, both took their mandatory 24-hour break at the checkpoint. Buser had already taken his. 

    Buser left the Ruby checkpoint almost five full hours ahead of Lindner, but Aliy Zirkle was the first to leave Ruby. King was the fourth out. Zirkle made a quick stop at Ruby to seize the lead. While Buser took his mandatory eight-hour rest. 

    Zirkle has yet to win the Iditarod, but was runner up in the previous two events. She could be headed for another runner-up finish. 

    She didn't have the lead for long. Buser left the Galena checkpoint over an hour ahead of second place Lindner, and Zirkle was just over an hour behind Lindner in third.

    Like Buser, however, Zirkle has already taken her mandatory eight-hour rest while Lindner has not. 

March 6 Results

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    Al Grillo/Associated Press

    As of late Thursday night, just three mushers had made it to the Ruby checkpoint, which is the first checkpoint on the frozen Yukon. None have yet to leave. 

    Jeff King was the first to make it. The four-time champ arrived at the checkpoint at 6:41 a.m. local time. That was a full hour ahead of second-place Sonny Lindner.  

    Neither of those two mushers have stopped for their 24-hour mandatory layover. Martin Buser has, and he was the third musher to reach Ruby. 

    Buser pulled in at 6:44 p.m. local time. 

    According to Anchorage Daily News' Beth Bragg, both King and Lindner are planning on taking their 24-hour break at Ruby. That means that Buser will likely leave the checkpoint in the lead. As Bragg also points out, King started 16th among 70 mushers. This means he has to make up the 106 minute advantage he got in the staggered start. All of which adds up to the fact that he can't leave Ruby until 8:27 a.m.

    Lindner was the last musher to start, so he will not have added time from the staggered start. 

     

    Note: Full race results can be found on the race's official website.

March 5 Results

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    Dan Joling/Associated Press

    If the second half of the Iditarod plays out exactly as the first did, Aaron Burmeister will be a happy man. The 38-year-old was the first musher into Cripple on Wednesday, at 3:26 p.m. local time, thus earning him the GCI Dorothy Page Halfway Award, per the Alaska Public Radio Network.

    Burmeister also takes home $3,000 in gold, per the Anchorage Daily News.

    Day 5 was a rousing success, as Burmeister told Joe Runyan of the Iditarod's official website that he was two hours ahead of schedule.

    It's the first time that Burmeister has been first at the halfway point, so no matter the final result, he at least made the 2014 Iditarod memorable in one respect.

    Coming into Cripple, he had built around a three-mile lead on Jeff King, according to the Anchorage Daily News. He checked in at 4:05 p.m. local time. Behind King was Sonny Linder, at 4:40 p.m.

    Of the three, Burmeister might be in the most trouble, as he is driving 12 dogs, while King has two more and Linder has the full complement of 16 dogs.

    However, he doesn't think that it will prove decisive, telling Runyan, "Really pleased with the dogs.  These 12 are really solid, working beautifully, eating, resting.  Their feet are perfect, but I changed 3x’s just to make sure."

     

    Note: Full race results can be found on the race's official website.

March 4 Results

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    Dan Joling/Associated Press

    After taking a huge lead on Monday, the fourth day of competition was an unfortunate one for Martin Buser.

    The veteran musher suffered an injury that took him out of the race with what he described as an ankle sprain, according to the Anchorage Daily News. Buser described the injury by stating, "Nothing is broken inside, otherwise it'd be more painful."

    The 55-year-old couldn't return to the race and said he was worried for other mushers in the Iditarod, per the Anchorage Daily News:

    When I got into Rohn, I don't cry wolf a lot, but thought they better station a doctor there. I just thought there's going to be a need for one. I know a whole bunch of those people in the back, and I'm worried sick about them.

    With Buser's departure, the window was left open for another experienced musher to take over the lead. Sonny Lindner, a 64-year-old from Two Rivers, Alaska, has a considerable lead over Hugh Neff and Aliy Zirkle.

    The Iditarod's official Twitter account captured an image of Lindner's team heading out of the Nikolai checkpoint:

    Lindner in Iditarod lead as small pack leaves Nikolai http://t.co/7f7Z1I98TT pic.twitter.com/DCFAsSr2yf

    — ADN Iditarod (@IditarodLive) March 5, 2014

    Before the dogs left for the next stretch run, the account also captured an image of a dog that will be retiring following the conclusion of the race:

    This #Iditarod is 9-year-old Fuzzy's retirement party: http://t.co/k3XTyznFrP #MeetTheSledDogs pic.twitter.com/IsPn6Vxc5m

    — ADN Iditarod (@IditarodLive) March 4, 2014

    Day 4 of the competition was not one of the easiest throughout the race, as Buser warned following his injury. But with Day 5 beginning shortly for the sleds, the trail doesn't get any easier.

    With the likes of both Neff and Zirkle fast approaching Buser on the trail, it's still anyone's race down the stretch of the Iditarod.

     

    Note: Full race results can be found on the race's official website. 

     

March 3 Results

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    Al Grillo/Associated Press

    Veteran musher Martin Buser opened up a healthy lead with a quick rest at the Rohn checkpoint. He left the checkpoint over three hours ahead of second place Aliy Zirkle.

    Kelly Maixner was the first musher into the Rohn checkpoint, but after a grueling run, the musher opted for a lengthy rest. As Anchorage Daily News reports, the rest at Rohn was the first for the team after making one long run after Sunday's start in Willow. 

    Both Buser and Zirkle barely stopped at the Rohn checkpoint. Buser was there for just three minutes and Zirkle 10. Buser still has a full team of 16 dogs. Zirkle has 15. 

    ADN Iditarod passed along this photo of Buser: 

    Martin Buser pushes through Farewell Burn #iditarod2014 http://t.co/LyCDgOlAfi pic.twitter.com/fIvwo2mz2M

    — ADN Iditarod (@IditarodLive) March 4, 2014

    Buser is a savvy veteran. He has raced in every Iditarod since 1986 and he's won the competition four times. Although, he has not won the event since 2002. 

    Last year, Buser got off to a similar early but couldn't hold onto it. With elite competition close on his heels, he may not hold onto the lead this year, either. 

    In all, five mushers have exited the Rohn checkpoint by 12:38 a.m. ET on March 4, and there are some quality teams among that group. 

    It includes four-time Iditarod winner Jeff King, two-time Iditarod champ Robert Sorlie, four-time Yukon Quest victor Hans Gatt and one-time Quest winner Sonny Lindner.

     

    Note: Full race results can be found on the race's official website. 

     

     

March 2 Results

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Michael Williams Jr. was first in to Skwentna on Sunday night.

    The first official race day of Iditarod 2014 saw mushers hit two checkpoints. The first came at Yentna Station after a grueling 42-mile trek from Willow, and the second was another 30 miles past that to Skwentna. 

    Williams left Yentna at 17:46:00, two minutes after then-leader Dan Kaduce, but after completing the trip to Joe and Norma Delia's log home in a blazing two hours and 45 minutes, he checked in at 20:31:00 well ahead of the other mushers. 

    It's been an incredibly busy month for Williams, and the early success in this race is quite an accomplishment. 

    As Lew Freedman of the Anchorage Daily News pointed out, Williams, in the past year, built a house, married his girlfriend, became a father to twin boys and acquired a three-year-old stepson. 

    "It's crazy and busy," he said, via Freedman. "It's kind of hard to believe. It's kind of weird -- a wife and kids and my own house. At 18 I would feel sorry for myself. I'm proud of my boys and proud of my wife."

    You can bet they're proud of him, too. 

    Legend Martin Buser, who has won this race four times and been in the top 10 on 18 different occasions, came into Skwentna 40 minutes after Williams but was the first one to check out en route for Finger Lake—a 40-mile trip. 

    Paige Drobny is in third place. She checked in 20 minutes after Williams and looks set to improve after finishing 34th as a rookie in 2013. 

    Linwood Fiedler and Aliy Zirkle rounded out the top five arriving at Skwentna. 

     

    Note: Full race results can be found on the race's official website.

     

March 1 Results

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    Mark Thiessen/Associated Press

    Musher Curt Perano kicked off the festivities at the ceremonial start to the race on March 1 in Anchorage. While none of the results are official, the ceremony serves as a point for all participants to get back together once again and test out the course.

    The exhibition began at 10 a.m. and saw a sled leave every two minutes before all participants traveled 11 miles to Campbell Airstrip. Musher Brent Sass helped to explain why the opening ceremony is so important for the sport itself, via Beth Bragg of the Anchorage Daily News (account required):

    We know how important the ceremonial start is for the fans and how important it is for the success and growth of the race. I really enjoy it. I think the dogs like to get in the harness and pull whether it's seven miles or 1,000.

    Executive Director Stan Hooley also took the time at the event to explain why Saturday is important, via Steve Quinn of Reuters:

    Saturday is an opportunity to interact with mushers, watch dog teams excited to leave the starting line, travel 11 miles of the city streets and call it a day. There is much more of an opportunity to touch and feel the race, and celebrate this great race.

    The ceremony was a nice event that acts as a strong precursor to how the race may play out. While 11 miles is nothing close to 1,000, the exhibition has played a critical role each year—this year is no different.

     

    Note: Full race results can be found on the race's official website.