Bethel musher Terrell Andrews completed the roughly 50-mile Akiak Dash in less than eight hours, easily winning the 2019 race.
Favorable weather that combined dry snow and minimal wind made for good trail conditions for the 10 mushers in the race that begin with a mass start at 2 p.m. Saturday. The 21-year-old was the swiftest in the field, and the second youngest competing for the top share of the $30,000 purse.
“They were holding up good,” the visibly exhausted Andrews said of his team after he crossed the finish line near Bethel's boat harbor.
“These leaders were good,” he said of his female leads, Cricket and Coho.
His 7:55.04 finish time earns him $5,550, the largest share of the race's $30,000 purse.
Second place went to Joseph Demantle III of Tuluksak. It was the first time the 37 year old had run the Akiak Dash, having completed the Bogus 150 last year.
Demantle was the second musher to make it to Akiak, despite a broken sled. “The bolt came off it; we rigged it back,” Demantle said.
The mishap didn't take him out of the competition. His second place finish time of 8:02:06 earned him $4,770 of the purse.
Gilbert Phillip of Akiak placed third. The 34 year old had been the first to arrive at the Akiak checkpoint, but ultimately finished the race a minute after Demantle at 8:03:05. He'll take home $3,770 of the purse.
The Akiak Dask is the shortest and offers the smallest purse of the three races during the K300 weekend. But 2019's purse money is more generous this year as only nine mushers completed the race. Elijah Cabinboy, 30, of Nome voluntarily scratched after arriving at the Akiak checkpoint about an hour behind the front runners and with a dog in the bag.
Cabinboy's share of the purse was distributed to the remaining nine racers.
Akiak Dash race marshal Bill Eggimann said the race has historically attracted more beginners, but looking at the roster this year, there were also some veterans in the mix.
“There's some real experienced people in the Dash, and some of the local sprint racers will be involved in this and they are very accomplished mushers,” Eggimann said. “And then there's kids, too, so it's really fun; it's a fun race.”
It was also the first year that Akiak Dash mushers carried GPS trackers. That allowed officials and spectators to monitor the dog teams' progress in real time.
Other mushers finished with the following times: First Place: Terrell Andrews, 21, of Bethel (7:55:04)Second Place: Joseph Demantle III, 37, of Tuluksak (8:02:06)Third Place: Gilbert Phillip, 34, of Akiak (8:03:05)Fourth Place: Nicholas Ayapan, 32, of Kwethluk. (8:06:00)Fifth Place: Raymond Alexie, 15, of Kwethluk (8:14:13)Sixth Place: Solomon Olick, 25, of Kwethluk (8:15:06)Seventh Place: Gregory Larson, 46, of Napaskiak (8:20:24)Eight Place: Nathan DeHaan, 31, of Bethel (8:45:04)Ninth Place: Moses Frederick, 61, of Akiachak