September 23, 2017

Eye on the Trail – Trio into Nome for Breakfast by Terrie Hanke

Mike Ellis remembers watching the Iditarod on Wide World of Sports as a kid. If they still produced the television account of The Last Great Race, Ellis would be seeing himself and his majestic Siberian Huskies come across the finish line. Ellis, first of the breakfast trio, earned his coveted rookie belt buckle in 30th place.  Making the burled arch with healthy happy huskies was Mike’s main goal but he had another. Holding the record for the best Siberian time in the Yukon Quest, Mike and dogs had an eye on being able to say the same about Iditarod. To do that, Ellis and Sibes would have to answer to Blake Frekking who holds the current but unofficial Siberian record for Iditarod, 11 days, 20 hours and 39 minutes. Congratulations to Mike and the handsome Siberian Huskies under the leadership of Reba and Eliza that brought him to Nome in with a time of 10 days, 10 hours and 16 minutes. Looks like the “unofficial” Siberian finisher’s record is yours by about 36 hours. Mike says, “Magic comes in many forms, and simply standing on the runners watching a team we’ve bred and trained flow down the trail is pure magic for me.” Ellis also reminds everyone to RESPECT YOUR DOGS.

Ty and Coconut brought the 31st musher to finish, Kelly Maixner, to the burled arch as the second of the breakfast trio. He was in agreement with those that have made the burled arch before him. The trail was tough and the weather, especially the rain on the Yukon, even tougher. Ty, Coconut and the rest of the Maixner team trotted smartly into the chute from one end and Kelly’s wife, Margaret and daughter Rosemary entered from the other end, all met at the finish line to celebrate with a loving group hug. With the exception of his leaders, Kelly’s team is fairly young and getting better with experience and age. Maixner finished in 30th place in 2011 and 32nd place and 2012. This year Kelly put the meat between the bread with a 31st place finish in 9 days, 10 hours and 17 minutes, his best ever. Maixner is a pediatric dentist with a long list of other jobs – farmer, snowboard instructor, soldier, dough-nut maker, physical therapy assistant, state champion boxer and a semi-pro football player.

Wade Marrs, crossing the finish line as the third of a trio of mushers around 0800 this morning was happy with his run. The pleasant weather of yesterday turned windy overnight but Marrs welcomed the change over the mild weather experienced over most of the trail. Wade finished in 31st place with a time of 9 days, 10 hours and 17minutes. Born and raised in Redington Country, Marrs learned to run dogs from his uncle. He ran the Junior Iditarod in 2007 and again in 2008 when he earned the Humanitarin Award for dog care. In this, his second trip all the way to Nome, Marrs averaged 3.84 miles per hour and improved by nearly 5 days and 15 places. When asked if he’ll be back for the northern route next year, Wade answered with a tentative yes. He’s raised all of his dogs and while they’re young, he knows they’ll get better with experience and age.