49th Running in the 49th State – Trail Reporting: Friday, March 12th

Friday, March 12th



Who is winning?

This is probably the most common question and one that I get every day, usually as soon as the students walk in the door. For my third graders, it makes the most sense to use the GPS and updated standings on the Insider to determine who is in the lead. However, this will not give a completely accurate picture of the standings until the majority of mushers have completed their 24-hour layovers. Why, you might ask? In order to account for the time differential created by the staggered start.


Dallas Seavey walks the line. Photo Credit: Dave Poyzer

For example, when Dallas Seavey took his 24 hour layover recently in McGrath, he actually stayed for 24 hours and 50 minutes. This is not because Dallas likes to take his time in the checkpoints, in fact it’s the complete opposite. So why didn’t he leave right at the 24 hour mark? In order to account for his time differential. If you recall, the mushers all leave the starting line in 2-minute intervals. With bib number 23, Dallas Seavey started the race 50 minutes ahead of the final musher, Victoria Hardwick, with bib number 48. Adding time to the 24-hour layover creates a fair playing field, where mushers who leave the start earlier compensate for the time advantage they had with an earlier start. 

Screenshot taken from Iditarod.com standings. Dallas Seavey’s rest time in checkpoint shown here.

So really, you can only truly tell who is “winning” after most of the mushers complete their 24 hour rests. Depending on the age of your students, you could discuss the topic of this time differential and how it plays a role in the standings at the beginning of the race. However, for my 3rd Graders, the GPS tracker is their best friend.

Screenshot taken from Iditarod.com GPS tracker.


Teachers: This could easily be turned into an elapsed time math challenge. Based on the mushers’ bib number, try and calculate how many extra minutes each musher must wait before they can leave their 24 hour layover. (Teacher’s Answer Key) –  Since there are 48 musher bibs this year, subtract their bib number from 48 and multiply by 2!