Eye on the Trail: Anna, Will, Lara & Anna

Anna Berington Finishes in 21st Place (Photo: Insider Video)

Since 2012 we’ve been seeing double on the trail.  Kristy and Anna Berington have conquered the Iditarod Trail together.  Kristy ran without  Anna in 2010 and 2011 and now Anna ran without Kristy in 2024.  It was a decision the twins made – it would be easier to write a check for only one entry fee and the size of their kennel was better suited for one team rather than two.  They would train together, Kristy would do other races and Anna would take the “A” team to Nome.  Anna has been climbing  the finisher’s ladder for the past four years from 24th to 21st place but back in 2019 she finished in 17th place.  Her best time on the northern route came in 2022 at 10 days 8 hours and 44 minutes.  Today  she finished in 10 days 22 hours and 24 minutes.  Kristy was at the arch to greet Anna.  Berington said the race was tough.  She said, “There were many special memories along the trail where we had camped together, places that wouldn’t mean anything to anybody else but to her and I they were special places.”  Perhaps we’ll see both the twins back on the trail in the future.

Will Rhodes 22nd and Earns Finisher’s Belt Buckle (Photo: Insider Video)

Will Rhodes is a rookie from Two Rivers.  He finished in 22nd place with a time of 10 days 22 hours and 42 minutes.  Will grew up in California.  After moving to Alaska he trained dogs with former Iditarod champion, Joe May.  Will met his future wife Brenda Mackey while working on the Juneau Icefield as a sled dog tour guide.  Brenda attempted the Iditarod in 2021 but scratched in Nicolai.  Will works as a geologist.  At the arch, Will said the trip was fantastic.  He especially enjoyed the coast.  There wasn’t ice like he expected.  He said the Burn was the worst with no snow and it wasn’t his idea of what mushing is but it’s a part you get through.

Lara Kettelson Finishes in 23rd Position (Photo: Insider Video)

Rookie Lara Kittelson behind a Mitch Seavey team arrived in Nome in 23rd place with a time of 11 days 1 hour and 34 minutes.  Enthralled by her father’s stories of Alaska, she left Washington State and headed to Alaska right after graduating from high school.  She found a job working as a yearling trainer in Seward at Mitch Seavey’s kennel.  She knew nothing about sled dogs when she took the job but liked working out of doors.  At some point she saw a drone video of a dog team running on trails that wove through a swamp.  She said it was an epiphany and she began working to hone her own camping, dog care and mushing skills.  She then completed her qualifiers and has traveled the Iditarod Trail earning the coveted Iditarod finisher’s belt buckle.  Lara is working on a survival novel.  Perhaps Iditarod gave her some great material.

Anna Hennessy Completes Race in 24th Place (Photo: Insider Video)

Rookie Anna Hennessy, a winter lover, covered the 975 mile trail in 11 days two hours and 39 minutes to earn 24th place.  She was first exposed to sled dogs and the sport of mushing in northern Minnesota then worked with fellow 2024 rookie, Erin Altemus at Saw Tooth Racing.   To achieve her dream of running the Iditarod, Anna moved to Alaska to work and train with Kathleen Fredrick at Shameless Huskies Kennel.  She completed her qualifiers in 2023.  Anna works as an Emergency Department Nurse.  when asked if there was anything that carried over she said that in the ED you always have to expect the worst and expect the unexpected which is very much like the trail.  She said when her spirits were down she’d remember that she was doing the thing she’d dreamed of for years and that always perked her up.  She also told about a musk ox that was standing in the middle of the trail.  Rather than move it just laid down so they had to go around it.  Anna praised her fearless leader, Ashley.

Four rookies, Benjamin Good, Jeff Reid, Lauro Eklund and Severin Cathry are serving the required 8 hour rest in White Mountain.  They are anticipating the blow hole, running along the coast to Safety, then climbing over Cape Nome and finally cruising down Front Street to stand under the burled arch.  Two more rookies, Sean Williams and Joshua Robbins have departed Elim for White Mountain.