Iditarod 2009: Can Anyone Catch Lance?

It was a busy weekend in Alaska, as the top mushers now have their sites set on Nome, and the finish line to the 1100 mile Iditarod. Late last week, two-time defending champ Lance Mackey made a big move and took the lead, and he hasn’t given it up since, despite some tough competition nipping at his heels.

As of now, Mackey has blasted through the Shaktoolik checkpoint, which puts him less than 170 miles from his goal of a third straight victory in “The Last Great Race“. But he isn’t home yet, and Yukon Quest champ Sabastian Schnuelle is still in second place and hoping to get his first win in the Iditarod as well. Not far behind Schnuelle is is four time winner Jeff King, who steadily made his way up the leaderboard this weekend to put himself in a position to make a run at Mackey as well. Schnuelle, King, and the rest of the top ten are all through Unalakleet and heading towards Shaktoolik.

At this point, I personally think Mackey is a lock for his third straight win, but it isn’t over yet, and there are plenty of miles to on the trail. But Lance is one of the best racers in the world and knows his team very well, and I think he has them in a position that it is nearly impossible to catch them. I’m also going to go out on a limb and predict that King will pass Schnuelle and claim second place. He seems to be running faster at the moment, and running the Yukon Quest and Iditarod back to back may have taken it’s toll. We’ll find out soon however, as the winner will probably be in Nome by tomorrow.

Kraig Becker

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