The 2014 Iditarod race—one of the most grueling events in the sports world—is underway and has already been an eventful one.
Since the beginning of the race on March 2, the mushers have endured the harsh conditions and some have already had to drop out of the competition.
After taking an early lead, veteran musher Martin Buser suffered an injury during the race. Others like 64-year-old Sonny Lindner have taken over in his place and made the race yet another one to watch.
Whether dogs are trudging through snowy conditions, or even at times on dry land, the dogs and mushers have fought on. The Iditarod's official Twitter account provides a look at the conditions the teams have dealt with thus far:
With the race still marching on, here is a look at the updated results along with story lines to watch for throughout the race.
|Current Race Standings (Updated March 5)|
|6||Nicolas Petit||23:20:00 (3/4)||-|
|7||Joar Leifseth Ulsom||05:16:00||-|
|10||Aliy Zirkle||19:06:00 (3/4)||-|
|2014 Iditarod Checkpoints|
|Checkpoint||Distance From Start|
|iditarod.com (*Already accomplished)|
Top Story Lines to Watch
Can Martin Buser Stage a Comeback?
After a tough injury in the middle of the race, Buser had to forfeit an early lead that had him well ahead of the pack to deal with the pain.
The veteran musher suffered an ankle sprain that took him out of the race, 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.
Despite the injury, Buser is still in the top 10 and has a fighting chance at getting back to the top of the field. With four wins in the race during his career, the veteran musher knows what he's doing in the Iditarod.
While his last win in the race came back in 2002, Buser has a shot at claiming his third top-five finish since his last victory. But with a field that is already well ahead of him following the injury, it's a tough hill to climb for the musher.
Race Effects on the Mushers and Dogs
Much like any other endurance race, the Iditarod is one that has a constantly changing course which makes it difficult for teams to find consistency.
The Iditarod account provides a quote from one of the mushers about how tough it's been just to stay on the course alone, much less try to win it:
Along with Buser, several other mushers have suffered injuries throughout the race:
Though some sleds have been slowed by the conditions, the race itself is a true test of the teams to see just how far they will go to take home the top prize.
As for racers like Jake Berkowitz, the constant crashing throughout the race was too much and forced him to withdraw, per the Iditarod account:
With several days remaining for the sleds and the unpredictability of the course running through Alaska, there could be more racers dropping out of the competition.
A winner will ultimately be crowned on March 16. Until then, viewers should consider it a treat to witness one of the most physically demanding competitions in the world.