October 20, 2018

Eye on the Trail: Champion Crowned, Winners Continue to Arrive

Joar Leifseth Ulsom on the Winner’s Podium In Nome March 14, 2018

Congratulations to Joar Leifseth Ulson and his leaders Russeren & Olive as champions of Iditarod XLVI. Joar and his powerful high spirited team made the Burled Arch in 9 days and 12 hours March 14 at 03:00. This was a race unlike others in recent history. The trail has been challenging for the leaders all the way through to the back of the pack for the entire length. Blowing snow has obscured trail only minutes after a musher passes through making each team a trail breaker.

Looking at archives from the last time Iditarod ran on the southern route in 2013, there are some interesting time comparisons. Mitch Seavey behind Tarus and Tanner won the race in 9 days, 7 hours and 39 minutes. Joar finished that race in 7th place with a time of 9 days 12 hours and 34 minutes earning Rookie of the Year honors. Looking a couple of years further back to 2011, John Baker of Kotzebue set a new record time completing the southern route in 8 days, 18 hours and 46 minutes.  Yes, the line on the map was virtually the same but the trail itself was very different. 

Improving by one place from 2017, Nicolas Petit crossed under the Burled Arch at 05:15 on March 14 to claim second place,. This is Nic’s 8th run to Nome. He’s finished in the top10 five times and scratched once. Nic has clocked four faster times than his 2018 time of 9 days, 14 hours and 15 minutes. Nicolas earned Rookie of the Year honors in his rookie Iditarod of 2011 finishing in 28th place. Like this year, Nic enjoyed the Lakefront Anchorage First to the Yukon Award in 2017.

Mitch Seavey completed his 25th Iditarod in 3rd place with a time of 9 days, 17 hours and 11 minutes. Seavey has had 16 top ten finishes since his first race in 1982. Since his first Championship in 2004, Mitch has had 14 consecutive top 10 finishes with the exception of having to scratch in 2011 with a hand injury. He set the record for fastest Iditarod time of 8 days, 3 hours and 40 minutes in 2017 on the Fairbanks to Nome route. Mitch also has the honor of being the oldest Iditarod champion at the age of 57.

The Nome Kennel Club sponsors the Fastest Time from Safety to Nome Award for the top twenty mushers. Nicolas Petit set the standard high this morning with a run time of 2 hours and 9 minutes. Mitch made the twenty-two miles in 2 hours and 52 minutes. Joar covered the final leg in 3 hours and 7 minutes. Petit has captured the award in 2016 (2h 25m) and 2017 (2h 27m). Check stats to see if anyone in the top twenty can challenge Nic’s astounding sprint to the finish.  

Keep your eyes on the tracker for more Burled Arch action. Check back often to see who will round out the top ten, how the middle of the pack fairs and watch the back of the pack as they trek to the coast from Kaltag.