Paws Along the Trail with the Finish
This morning, the final mushers arrived in Nome, finishing the Last Great Race®, the Iditarod, 1049 miles across the wilds of Alaska. Having seen what these mushers go through with the weather and sleep deprivation, I have even more respect for this huge accomplishment. I heard the warning siren go off about 7:00 AM, jumped out of my sleeping bag, pulled on warm gear, and rushed to the burled arch as our school’s rookie, Shaynee Traska, arrived healthy and relieved. Her dream of completing the Iditarod has been accomplished! Her dog, Eiger, sat happily waiting to go on.
Jason Stewart came in at #50 with a huge smile. His wife, Melissa Owens Stewart, welcomed him with a big hug. She had the privilege of checking his sled with him, making sure he had all of his mandatory gear. In talking with him later, he was just as enthusiastic as he’d been in Unalakleet, about 300 miles earlier. “It was just great! I loved the race. Going through all different geographic features, being with the dogs, the warm welcomes at each village…how can I not be happy?”
Magnus Kaltenborn brought the red lantern in on his sled. This award is given to the final finisher of the Iditarod. One of his duties as the red lantern winner was to extinguish the widow’ s lantern that has been hanging from the burled arch throughout the race.
The race is over. We had 52 out of 67 mushers finish. The other 15 mushers scratched for various reasons, which is heartbreaking to them. You can read about why they had to scratch by going to iditarod.com, tab Information, link Press & Media. http://iditarod.com/resources/press-media/ The highest percentage of scratches in any race was 29% of mushers. What is the percentage this year?
One more question for you to consider. Why did they announce the prize money today instead of at the beginning of the race? Look at the chart and discuss why it was posted on the final day of the race. https://d3r6t1k4mqz5i.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/3.17.18_Iditarod_2018-Iditarod-purse-announced-FINAL.pdf?x14076