Jessica Klejka mushed her team of 11 dogs across the finish line in Nome at 10:12 p.m. on Friday. Her rookie run in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is the fulfillment of dreams that started when she was a young girl in Bethel learning to run dogs on local trails.
Her love of sled dogs and mushing inspired her to become a veterinarian. When asked during the race whether it was what she expected, she replied, “Nothing prepares you for this.”
Klejka will have a couple of days to relax before the mushers banquet on Sunday.
Nine teams are still out on the trail, including Bethel dentist Victoria Hardwick who was mushing from Elim to White Mountain Saturday morning.
Correction: A previous version of this story said that Klejka finished 32nd at 11:11 p.m. on Friday in the Iditarod. That information is incorrect. Klejka finished 31st at 10:12 p.m. during her rookie Iditarod race.