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Musher Aliy Zirkle arrives first into the Iditarod checkpoint on March 7, 2019.
Ben Matheson

The sprint between Nicholas Petit and Joar Leifseth Ulsom ended at 12:13 p.m. on Thursday, when Petit arrived in Iditarod 15 minutes ahead of Leifseth Ulsom. Petit wasn’t there when Leifseth Ulsom checked in, because he had gone on down the trail to camp about 10 miles outside of town. Leifseth Ulsom spent most of the afternoon in Iditarod as Martin Buser arrived to take his mandatory 24-hour rest, followed by Jessie Royer, Pete Kaiser, and Richie Diehl, who have all completed their mandatory 24s.

The Iditarod checkpoint on the Iditarod River on March 7, 2019.
Ben Matheson

Another musher may show up in Iditarod soon. Joar Leifseth Ulsom and Nicholas Petit are sprinting toward the checkpoint where Aliy Zirkle is taking her mandatory 24-hour break. The two have opened up more than a 25-mile lead over the parade of other mushers who have come off their 24's and are now following them to the ghost town that marks the halfway point to Nome.

Zachariah Hughes

Bethel Musher Pete Kaiser is still with the front of the pack as he runs his team to Iditarod on Thursday. Before he left the Takotna checkpoint, he spoke with APRN  reporter Zachariah Hughes.


Zirkle’s Gamble

Mar 7, 2019
Zachariah Hughes

There’s a parade of mushers running to the ghost town of Iditarod this morning, where Aliy Zirkle and her team are sleeping. The Two Rivers musher was awarded the Dorothy Page Halfway award when she arrived there at 1:39 a.m. on Thursday, March 7. This year it’s a choice between a gold iPhone with a year of free service or $3,000 in gold nuggets. 

Diehl Versus Tree On Trail

Mar 7, 2019
Zachariah Hughes

Every Iditarod musher has a harrowing story to tell, and Aniak musher Richie Diehl has a doozy and a black-eye to prove it. He ran face first into a tree while mushing from Nikolai to McGrath. The impact knocked him off the sled.

Musher Aliy Zirkle at the Rainy Pass Lodge checkpoint on the Iditarod trail on March 4, 2019.
Zachariah Hughes / APRN

The Iditarod is reaching its halfway point, and that means some rugged country and strategy.


Kaiser Repairs Sled, Stays In Lead Iditarod Pack

Mar 6, 2019
Bev Hoffman

Bethel musher Pete Kaiser took the lead in the Iditarod early this year. Bib number 9 says that it’s because he wanted to take advantage of being one of the first teams on the trail over the Alaska Range.

“I kind of made a point of trying to stay out in the front," he said in the Nikolai checkpoint. "I got a good bib number, and I wanted to stay out in the front in case that trail went to [heck] with a bunch of teams going over it. So I don’t know what it was like for everyone else, but I had a pretty good trail."

Rookie Helps Kaiser Dogs Get Iditarod Experience

Mar 6, 2019
Bev Hoffman

The Iditarod is well on its way, and three rookies from Bethel entered the race this year. Niklas Wikstrand, a Norwegian who has been in Bethel working with Pete Kaiser’s dogs, is running a B-team for the veteran musher. He spoke with public radio’s Ben Matheson at the ceremonial start on Saturday.


Musher Aliy Zirkle heats water for her dogs in the Iditarod McGrath checkpoint on March 5, 2019.
Ben Matheson

It’s relatively quiet on the Iditarod Trail. Many mushers are taking their required 24-hour rest, with one significant exception: Aliy Zirkle is making a run for it. Her team left Ophir a little after 8 a.m., leaving behind former front-runner Nicolas Petit, who is doing his 24-hour layover, along with Jesse Holmes and Aaron Burmeister. In the history of the race, others have made that push. Time will tell if it will benefit Zirkle when she is stuck staying put while others who have completed their 24-hour rests mush by her.

Klejka Makes It Over The Alaska Range

Mar 6, 2019
Beverly Hoffman

Rookie Iditarod musher Jessica Klejka made it to McGrath, but before she did she spoke at the Iditarod Ceremonial start in Anchorage on Saturday about some of the fears and challenges facing her in the Alaska Range this week.


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