Traffic at Deshka Landing is picking up pace on Monday afternoon after the top three teams arrive very early this morning. Wade Marrs has arrived in 4th place followed by Mille Porsild in 5th place. Wade has held a position in the top 10 since Iditarod Checkpoint. Mille took her long rest in Iditarod and began moving up the ranks slowly but surely. She was the seventh team to depart McGrath heading to the finish line.
Marrs was born and raised in the Knik area. Wade attributes his love for the mushing lifestyle to his late uncle and the Redington family. He says, “I was a quiet kid while learning the ropes of mushing, not asking many questions, just listening to words of advice from the many mushers visiting the Redington home in Knik.” Wade has participated in the Jr. Iditarod and has mentored and supported other young mushers as they have run the Jr. He is a true advocate for the mushing lifestyle and the future of the sport. He operates Stump Jumping Kennel located in Willow.
Porsild was the 2020 Iditarod Rookie of the Year, placing 15th. Born in Denmark, Mille has lived a life of adventure with dogs. She started mushing in 1992 running a team of huskies for polar explorer Will Steger on a 3-month expedition in Canada. She’s done 15 long haul expeditions with her freight dogs that lasted from 2 to 6 months and covered up to 3,000 miles. She has spent more than 1,000 nights in a tent on dog sled expeditions. (A question for Mille, how many of these nights were as cold as the nights in Iditarod Checkpoint this race?) She entered her first race in Russia in 2011. Upon coming to Alaska, she raced and trained with Iditarod champion Joar Leifseth Ulsom then she took on the challenge of Iditarod. From all of her previous experience, she knew the ropes of running dogs and camping. Now it seems she’s getting pretty good at racing dogs too.
As the top 10 finishers continue to make their way from Skwentna to Deshka another musher has decide to scratch. Rookie Jeremy Traska announced that he was scratching from the race for the best interest of his dogs. The field is now at 36 mushers. Jeremy and his wife, Iditarod Veteran Shaynee Traska, operate Howling Ridge Kennel out of Two Rivers, Alaska. Together they have raised all but one of the dogs in their kennel and enjoy exploring Alaska with their team. Shaynee earned the coveted Iditarod Finishers Belt Buckle in 2018 then scratched in 2019.
Rookies Troshynski, Schlosser, Hanson, Underwood, Tuminelli and Jagow along with veterans Hardwick and Daugherty have departed Nikolai to traverse the Burn. Mushers in the front of the pack on the inbound run reported the welcome addition of newly fallen snow to the trail. This group of eight will be following a couple dozen teams, hoping the snow holds up.
Next to arrive in Skwentna are positions 17 thru 21. The group includes Dan Kaduce in the lead followed by Ryne Olson, Paige Drobny, Cody Strathe and Matthew Failor. Failor who is in 21st position is hoping to move up one if not more spots in the standings as the purse pays out to the 20th position. That’s a race within this race.