Following a slower day yesterday, thanks to most of the mushers taking a mandatory 24-hour rest break, the action in the 2012 Iditarod is heating up once again today. The teams are on the move once again, and steaming towards the halfway point, where the first to arrive will receive a very rich reward indeed.
One look at the current leaderboard and you can see a contrast in strategies. Currently running in first place out of the Ophir checkpoint is Jim Lanier, who is followed closely by Trent Herbst. But their positions are precarious ones to say the least, as neither man has taken his mandatory rest break yet. The two mushers are dueling to become the first to reach the next checkpoint – located in the town of Cripple – which marks the halfway point of the race. The first person into Cripple will be rewarded with $3000 in gold nuggets as their prize.
But it is not a foregone conclusion that either man will be the one to go home with the gold. Chasing them are a number of experienced, not to mention well rested, teams who are currently moving at a much faster pace. Mitch Seavey is currently running in third place with Aliy Zirkle in fourth and Dallas Seavey rounding out the top five. Just behind them are Jeff King and defending champ John Baker. Each of those mushers has completed their 24-hour rest period and actually represent the real leaders of the race, even if the leaderboard reflects something different.
Lurking not far back are a host of other contenders as well. Four-time winner Lance Mackey, Yukon Quest champ Hugh Neff, and Paul Gebhardt are all within striking distance. Considering we have another 500 miles to go until Nome, this is still anyone’s race.
For more thoughts and insights on the race be sure to read the Iditablog!
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