Iditarod leader Dallas Seavey left the White Mountain checkpoint this morning, with only 77 miles and one final checkpoint separating himself from Nome and total victory over the toughest race in the world.
As it stands, Dallas Seavey has an hour lead on Aliy Zirkle and almost two hours on the third place musher, Ramey Smyth. The only question now, is whether or not Zirkle's 10 dog team can overtake Seavey's 9 dog team before he reaches Nome.
Iditarod officials announced this morning that they expect Seavey to arrive in Nome sometime between 5p.m. and 6p.m. this evening, so stay tuned for the final results of this year's race right here at
Day seven of the Iditarod is well underway, and the race is turning into a duel between former Yukon Quest champions Aily Zirkle and Dallas Seavey. Both Zirkle and Seavey have already cleared Nulato and are making their way toward Kaltag, with the rest of the pack fading further and further behind.
Kaltag is the final checkpoint that follows the Yukon River, and is only 261 miles from the finish line at Nome. However, the final stretch will not be easy, as racers make their way to Unalakleet and the edge of the Bering Sea. High winds, low visibility and fatigue become prominent factors along the coast, where the elements amplify the physical stress of the race with the intense mental fatigue of strategy.
The final stretch from Unalakleet is where winners are made and spirits are broken; where strategy and counterattacks are critical; and when experienced dogs matter most.
The toughest race on Earth is about to get a whole lot tougher, so stay tuned for more updates right here at I Has a Hot Dog!
Big News! Big News! Aliy Zirkle has once again captured first place after blowing through the Ruby checkpoint this morning at 9a.m. AST, overtaking both Mitch and Dallas Seavey who opted to take their mandatory eight hour layover in Ruby, rather than push on to Galena.
Two more mushers have scratched since Silvia Furtwängler dropped out yesterday,with Ryan Redington and Wade Marrs pulling out of the competition due to fatigue and concern for their dogs' well being.
So far this year, warm weather and smooth trails have helped push teams further and faster than ever before. With day six well underway and Galena less than 400 miles to Nome, this year's Iditarod has the potential to be a year of lightning times and shattered records.
Stay tuned for more Iditarod 2012 updates, right here at I Has a Hot Dog!
The run to Nikolai this afternoon has been the most exciting leg of the Iditarod race so far, with Aliy Zirkle barely clinging to her lead as she headed on to McGrath checkpoint around 2p.m. this afternoon.
Last year's champion John Baker moved up ten spots to second place and four time champion Lance Mackey moved ahead 2 spots to secure third place, with 22 minutes separating first and second place and 33 minutes separating second and third place.
Look for the faster paced mushers like Mackey to take advantage of the shorter checkpoint distances and start gaining ground over the next several days.
Stay tuned for more Iditarod updates from I Has a Hot Dog!
A big day on the trail today, with female musher Aily Zirkle moving up from 14th on Sunday to first place, overtaking seven other mushers between the Rainy Pass and Rohn checkpoints with a pace of 9.17MPH.
The time between first and second place is incredibly tight, with only nine minutes separating Aily Zirkle and her team from Kelley Griffin, another female musher who also made huge gains on the rest of the pack during the night. Griffin is setting a more conservative pace than Zirkle, averaging 8.17MPH en route to the sixth checkpoint at Nikolai.
With 75 miles separating Rohn and Nikolai, the slow and steady mushers have an opportunity to make some big moves today.
Lead mushers are expected to arrive later this morning to the Nikolai checkpoint, so be sure to check back this afternoon for another Iditarod update!
*side note: two out of the three lead mushers are women? You go girls!
After pulling out of Willow during yesterday's official start, all 66 teams are well on their way to Nome today, with veteran musher Ray Redington, Jr. currently leading the pack. As of 8a.m. Alaskan Time this morning, Ray and his team had already left the Finger Lake checkpoint and were making their way toward Rainy Pass, the fourth checkpoint along the Iditarod trail.
Ray has already covered 112 miles since yesterday afternoon's official restart from Willow, with a race pace of 6.25MPH. Other veteran mushers, including four-time Iditarod champion Lance Mackey, are gaining ground and trailing Redington by only a few minutes as the top seven teams head into Rainy Pass.
John Baker, last year's Iditarod champion who notoriously sets a slow and steady pace, is currently running in tenth place with a speed of 5.98MPH. Baker left the Finger Lake checkpoint by 6a.m. in an attempt to overtake musher Nicolas Petit, whose 16 dog team has an hour on the reigning Iditarod champ.
Stay tuned for more updates from I Has a Hot Dog's daily coverage of the 2012 Iditarod!