The 2020 Iditarod has come to an end! What an exciting race we’ve been able to watch! The Elim 11 was a moniker (a special name) given to the final mushers who had been delayed in the Elim checkpoint. Once they started out this morning, the teams zipped along with no hold ups except some snowfall.
Musher Fabio Berlusconi of Italy was really pumped to be at the burled arch finish this morning! He said that he and the Elim 11 made great bonds and memories that will last for years.
It’s not just the mushers and their dogs who were prevented from moving, however. Each checkpoint has communications and logistics volunteers, veterinarians, trail workers, pilots, and checkers who fly in to help the community with all that must be ready when mushers come through. Elim, White Mountain, and Safety all had volunteers who had to shut down the checkpoint and put away the stuff so they, too, could be safely home with their families. They willingly waited to help the last batch of mushers, however. Safety Roadhouse had to be cleaned out and boarded up until they reopen in the summer.
We want to give a shout out to the many volunteers who have helped along the trail, often going without sleep to make sure the mushers and their teams got through. Here are some links to read about some of the faithful volunteers on the Iditarod Trail!
Read about even more volunteers on Faces of the Iditarod.
One last bit of news for you. The final musher to arrive in Nome gets the Red Lantern Award. This represents perseverance in sticking with the race, even when setbacks happen. Kaci Murringer won that award Sunday in Nome! She was able to extinguish the “Widow’s Lantern” which shines throughout the race, hanging from the burled arch. Her name will be added to the Red Lantern Award housed in the Iditarod Headquarters in Willow, Alaska. She finished with a time of 13 days, 22 hours, 29 minutes. For an interesting comparison of Red Lantern Award times, go to iditarod.com, Race Center, Race Archives, and click on a race. Look at the finish time for various mushers who brought up the rear of the race. In 1973, John Schultz received the Red Lantern Award with a finish time of 32 days 5 hours 9 minutes!
Thank you for reading my articles! It has been fun using my paws to type what is happening each day. What a race the 2020 Iditarod was!
Until next year, this is your canine reporter,