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!
25 year old Dallas Seavey and his team are the 2012 Iditarod Dog Sled Champions! Seavey crossed the finish line in Nome with a team of nine dogs and captured first place just before 8:30p.m. PST, setting an Iditarod record for being the youngest musher to ever win the race.
A native of Wasilla, AK, Dallas Seavey moved to Alaska at the age of five from Colorado and was a top ranked wrestler before turning his attention to dog sledding after graduating high school.
Aily Zirkle put up a great fight, and is only five miles out of Nome at the moment, with Ramey Smyth only ten miles out and closing in fast. The battle for second place is heating up, with Aaron Burmeister likely taking fourth place.
Congratulations Dallas! Give your doggies some steak tonight to celebrate! They've earned it!
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!
John Baker is a veteran Iditarod competitor, native Inupiat Alaskan, and the first Alaska Native Iditarod Champion in 35 years.
In the video above, John Baker talks about his feelings and emotions when crossing the finish line to the sound of native drums and cheering fans, as well as his dogs, his strategy, and what it takes to compete in the world's toughest race.
To find out more about John Baker and his 2012 Iditarod team, visit teamjohnbaker.com!
With 30 of the 66 teams already resting at Takotna, the eighth checkpoint along the Iditarod trail, this year's race is on pace to be the fastest ever recorded.
Takotna is situated over 350 miles from Anchorage and only 623 miles from Nome. Most mushers have chosen this checkpoint as the location to take their 24 hour break, and there has been little change in the top standings as a result.
Aliy Zirkle is still in first place, with John Baker holding on tight to second. Surprisingly, Lance Mackey has slipped from third to 32nd place and has decided to take a long rest at McGrath, rather than push his team the final 18 miles to Takotna.
Taking Mackey's place behind Zirkle and Baker is Mitch Seavey, the 2004 Iditarod champion and veteran musher who had to withdraw last year at Ophir after severely injuring his fingers with an axe. Seavey is fielding an almost identical team to the one he ran in 2011 and should be considered a serious contender for this year's Iditarod race.
For current standings, checkpoint interviews, and in-depth Iditarod news visit Iditarod.com!