Sebastian Schnuelle, winner of the 2009 Yukon Quest, currently leads this year’s Iditarod as well, with the top mushers already out of Finger Lake. Not far behind Schnuelle is Paul Gebhardt, with Ed Iten currently holding down third place. Two time defending champ Lance Mackey is giving chase in fourth, part of a pack further back.
The race got off to it’s ceremonial start on Saturday, where thousands of fans lined the streets in downtown Anchorage to wish the mushers, and their dogs, well. The race resumed yesterday with the official start, and the teams have been jockeying for position ever since. The top racers are through Finger Lake and are now en route to Rainy Pass, having already covered more than 200 miles.
This early in the race it is difficult to make any predictions and you have to temper your enthusiasm some. The course is 1100 miles in length, and the most demanding stages are yet to come, but it is always encouraging to see some of the top names battling out on the leaderboard even in the early standings. Schnuelle looks like he’s come to prove that his big, record setting win in the Yukon Quest was no fluke, and he’s hoping to join Mackey as the only man to win that race and the Iditarod in the same year. But there are Iditarod vets looming just outside the top ten, biding their time, and waiting to make a move. Should be a great race to watch unfold.
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