2011 Iditarod continued throughout the weekend, with mushers battling for position out on the course. The leaderboard has been shaken up some, with a number of familiar names, as well as fresh ones, appearing in the top ten.
As of this writing, the man out in front is John Baker, who is the only person to enter, and depart, the Elim checkpoint. Elim falls at the 1008 mile mark, which means for Baker, there is less than 123 miles to Nome. His next closest competitor is Ramey Smyth, who is through Koyuk, and steaming his way to Elim now. He is followed by Hans Gatt, Sebastian Schnuelle, Hugh Neff, and Dallas Seavey. That group ranks 3rd through 6th place respectively, and are the only mushers that are also through the Koyuk checkpoint.
Other names of note include DeeDee Jonrowe, who is running in 8th place and is into Koyuk and four-time defending champ Lance Mackey, who finds himself in the unusual position of 17th place, and far off the pace.
A quick look at the leaderboard shows that Baker is running a bit over 8 mph with his dogs at the moment, and none of the other competitors are close to that, save for Dallas Seavey. With Nome in sight, I think it is safe to say that this is Baker’s race to win or lose at this point. It isn’t over by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s been running well all weekend long, and seems to have a strong team that is poised to arrive in Nome in just a day or two. If the weather holds, and the dogs keep up their pace, it will be very tough to catch him.
Look for the race to be officially over by Wednesday.
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