By Thursday morning there were a total of 14 Iditarod mushers in Nome. The big news is that for the first time in the race’s history, there are three women in the top 10: Jessie Royer, Aliy Zirkle, and Paige Drobny. All three also finished the race with more dogs in harness than any of the top 10 men.
Aniak musher Richie Diehl crossed the finish line at 1:40 a.m., finishing 11th. There are six teams out of White Mountain this morning on their way to Nome, including this season’s K300 champion, Matthew Failor. Bethel Rookie Jessica Klejka is on her way to Elim after checking out of the Koyuk checkpoint at 6:38 a.m. morning with 13 dogs.
Victoria Hardwick finally got to the coast today, checking into Unalakleet at 1:12 a.m. The Bethel dentist seems to be taking an old-school approach to the Iditarod, much like its founder Joe Redington, treating it as more of a camping trip than a race. She took almost 21 hours to mush from Kaltag to Unalakleet. That could be compared to Nicolas Petit’s blistering pace of 11 hours on the same run, but Petit is now out of the race, and Hardwick is the only musher still on the trail with every dog she started with in her team.