Iditarod 2014: Buser Leads Into Nikolai


The other major event that got underway this past weekend was the 2014 Iditarod sled dog race. Run annually through the Alaskan backcountry the 1000-mile long competition pits the best mushers in the world against one another on a trail that is steeped in history and tradition.

After the ceremonial start in Anchorage on Saturday, the race officially restarted in Willow on Sunday. Since then the top racers have been burning up the trail, and now – just two days later – they are approaching the Nikolai checkpoint, which is 263 miles (423 km) into the competition.

As of this writing, the only musher to reach that point is 4-time champ Martin Buser, who clocked into Nikolai shortly after 1:00 AM local time this morning. In pursuit are Aliy Zirkle in second place and Sonny Lidner currently running in third. Nicolas Petit and Hugh Neff round out the top five, all of which are out of Rohn and chasing Buser.

Buser has taken the strategy of pushing his team early on in the hopes of building a big enough lead to help carry him through to late in the race. This has caused his challengers to up their game as well, as they try to keep pace. Buser attempted something similar last season, but came up short in the end, losing out to Mitch Seavey in Nome. The 2013 champ is currently running 9th place, while his son Dallas – also a former champ – is in 7th. Iditarod legend Jeff King is lurking on the leaderboard as always too. He is in 6th place out of Rohn.

There is still plenty of racing to go in the Idtarod, so it is too early to say just who will be the front runner as the teams turn towards Nome. But there are a lot of very experienced mushers at the top right of the leader board right now, and it shaping up to be an exciting race. For his part, Buser says he has one of his best dog teams ever, which is saying something. Will they be enough to get him to Nome in front of the competition? The next few days will tell.

Kraig Becker

3 thoughts on “Iditarod 2014: Buser Leads Into Nikolai”

  1. The Iditarod kills dogs just about every year; the total known is 143. Dog deaths average about three per race. Six dogs died in 2009.

    About half the dogs do not finish the race. The dogs are dropped due to injury, illness, exhaustion, or not wanting to continue. No musher finishes with all 16 of their dogs and some finish with only 7 dogs. As of 3/4/14, (day 3) at 11:05 AM about 106 dogs have been dropped so far, out of the 1104 who started.

    It is cruel to have such a long, (the distance from Maine to Florida) treacherous, unnecessary race when over half the dogs cannot finish, at the proven risk of injury, exhaustion, or death.

    When the dogs are not racing or training they are each kept on a short chain, attached to their small enclosure, in mud or snow (as the weather dictates) not able to play or interact with their kennel mates. This is considered inhumane and illegal in many communities. Some mushers have up to 200 dogs in their kennels.

  2. It's a fact that the SDAC "Likes" PETA on their Facebook page. It's a fact that the SDAC doesn't like the Iditarod. It's a fact that the death rate (now dramatically declining) for Iditarod sled dogs is around .3%, not much different than the husky population at large for the same period of time. It's a fact that PETA killed 82% of the dogs that came into their headquarters building for care. It's a fact that in a single year, in a single location, PETA killed 459 more dogs than have died in 42 years of Iditarod racing.

    These are not the half-truths that Ms. Glickman presents as "Truth" and "Fact" on her website. This is the whole unvarnished truth of the Sled Dog Action Coalition and

    More here;

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