As of this writing, Paul Gebhardt is in the lead, with Hugh Neff and Zack Steer giving chase. All the mushers in the top ten are out of Ophir and racing towards Cripple, hoping to make good time and put themselves ahead of the real race leaders, who elected to step off the trail and take their mandatory 24 hour rest period in Takotna. This morning Lance Makey, Jeff King, and Kjetil Backen will head out on the trail, rested, the mandatory pitstop behind them, and looking to reclaim the top spot at the front of the race.
One interesting development over the past 24 hours or so is the emergence of several of the female mushers into the top ten. Remember the old saying: “Alaska, where the men are men and the women win the Iditarod”? That saying was inspired by the likes of four time champion and Iditarod Legend, Susan Butcher who clearly left her mark on this race. At the moment, there are three women near the top of the leaderboard with Silvia Willis claiming the fourth spot, DeeDee Jonrowe in fifth, and Aily Zirkle holding down the ninth position. It’s good to see the girls giving the boys a run for their money.
It should be interesting to watch how things develop over the next day or so once again. Mackey seems to have gained some momentum, but the 24 hour rest break may have stalled that out some. Will he, King, or Backen be able to reclaim the top spots, or will the strategy of delaying the mandatory rest period pay off for the current leaders? We’ll just have to wait and see.
PS: I love this shot! 🙂
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