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Eddie Burke Jr. first on the trail towards Aniak in 2023 Kuskokwim 300

Eddie Burke Jr. will leave the chute in position number 9 in the 2023 Kuskokwim 300 on Jan. 27, 2023 in Bethel, Alaska.
Katie Basile
Katie Basile
Eddie Burke Jr. is the first musher out of the first Kalskag checkpoint in the 2023 Kuskokwim 300.

Eddie Burke Jr. is the first musher to depart Kalskag and begin on the trail towards the halfway checkpoint of Aniak in the 2023 Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race.

Burke left Kalskag at 8:16 a.m. on Jan. 28 after resting his team of 12 dogs for three hours and getting a quick nap. He left seven minutes ahead of Richie Diehl and Lev Shvarts, who left a minute later.

Isaac Underwood, who rested for two hours, was fourth out on the trail alongside Shvarts. Jacob Witkop was fifth out on the trail at 8:26 a.m.

Mushers will round the Whitefish Lake loop on what is expected to be a blown-in trail. A warm day of mushing may mean slow traveling on soft and potentially wet trails.

Temperatures have warmed up overnight since the 21 teams left Bethel on Jan. 27 along the trail upriver.

During this section of the race, teams will leapfrog one another as they log their six hours of rest split between Kalskag and Aniak. Mushers’ start time differentials are worked out at their first rest, according to race rules, which is the Kalskag checkpoint for all of this year’s field.

On the return trail, all mushers will have a mandatory four hour rest in Tuluksak before the final 50 miles into Bethel.

Ben Matheson has worked as a reporter for KYUK in Bethel and KNOM in Nome.
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