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K300 musher Father Alexander Larson gets 20 minute penalty for skipping Kalskag checkpoint

2022 K300 Musher Headshots/6FrAlexander-Larson_1559.JPG
Katie Basile/Katie Basile
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Fr. Alexander Larson was penalized 20 minutes in the 2022 K300 for not stopping in the Kalskag checkpoint.

The Kuskokwim 300 race marshals issued a 20-minute penalty to Fr. Alexander Larson after he left the marked trail near Kalskag on Saturday and didn’t stop at the checkpoint.

Mushers are required to stop and sign in at every checkpoint. And they must stop at Kalskag twice on the race loop: first on the way out to Aniak, and then on their way back toward the finish line.

According to a statement from the race, once the Kalskag checkpoint crew realized that Larson had skipped the checkpoint on the way back to Bethel, they sent snowmachiners out to meet him on the trail. They told him he could either circle back to the checkpoint or continue down the trail and would likely face a penalty.

Larson continued on to Tuluksak, the race’s final checkpoint, about 50 miles from the finish line. The Napaskiak musher had been running near the front of the pack for much of the race. He told officials that he didn’t know he had to stop a second time in Kalskag if he had already finished his mandatory six-hour rest, said the K300 statement.

According to the statement, Larson “acknowledged his mistake and accepted the penalty.”

Larson’s penalty was added to his required four hour rest in Tuluksak and might have cost him two places. Larson finished 10th in the race, eight minutes behind ninth-place finisher Gabe Dunham and 10 minutes behind eighth-place finisher Jason Pavila.

Updated: January 30, 2022 at 3:08 PM AKST
This story was updated to include information about Fr. Larson’s finishing position and progression through positions throughout the race.
Ben Matheson has worked as a reporter for KYUK in Bethel and KNOM in Nome.