He’s not in Nome yet, but Norwegian musher Thomas Waerner had a huge lead when he arrived in White mountain at 6 a.m. on March 17. He pulled into the checkpoint with a team of 12 dogs to begin the last mandatory eight-hour rest in the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. Warner started his run around Norton Sound in Unalakleet with a five-hour lead which has not shrunk. He left Elim five hours ahead of Mitch Seavey, who is leading the chase pack. Waerner can get back on the trail this afternoon at 2 p.m, and is expected to cross the finish line in Nome on the morning of Wednesday, March 18.
Two Bethel teams are both making their way around Norton Sound today. Pete Kaiser is on the way to Elim with nine sled dogs. Jessica Klejka and her team of 11 dogs are in Shaktoolik, resting before they run across the ice to Koyuk.
Two more mushers have scratched from the race. Aaron Peck joined Richie Diehl, dropping out of the run to Nome at Norton Sound. Larry Daugherty left the trail in Kaltag. Forty-eight teams remain in the race.