Update: the race issued the following statement this afternoon about Nicolas Petit's race.
Official Race Statement: Race officials have announced a penalty for Nicolas Petit based on today's finish in the Kuskokwim 300. Petit crossed the finish line close behind winner Matthew Failor but it was immediately learned from Petit that he had traveled for several miles on Church Slough after leaving the marked race trail about 10 miles from the finish line. After considering the available information, Race Judges added one hour to Petit's time dropping him to fourth in the official standings. Race rules require racers who lose the trail to return to the trail at the point the trail was lost. In this case a review of the trail showed numerous markers, including a bright orange highway light near the point where Petit left the trail. He acknowledged he saw the light but also informed judges he was running with his headlight off when he first left the trail. Several other racers also left the trail at the same location with their headlights off but all returned to the trail upon learning their error. Race Judge Andy Angstman, who was part of the Race Officials team of Bill Eggimann, Beverly Chmielarczyk and Lukas Vanasse who made the decision, stated "Nicolas found a race official immediately upon finishing and acknowledged his error. He has been cooperative throughout this process, and has handled the situation very professionally." If you have any questions please contact Race Manager Madelene Reichard.
The Kuskokwim 300 is reviewing the final miles of Girdwood musher Nicolas Petit's race after he acknowledged that "he left the marked trail and continued on an unmarked trail to the finish line." Petit arrived in Bethel two minutes after winner Matthew Failor, shortly after 7:00 a.m. on Saturday.
Race fans were in the dark in the early morning about Petit's whereabouts as he left his tracker in a gear bag in the Tuluksak checkpoint, about 50 miles from the Bethel finish.