Last Iditarod musher finishes in Nome on Saturday
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The last musher has arrived in Nome, ending the 50th running of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race across Alaska.
Musher Apayauq Reitan of Kaktovik, Alaska, crossed the finish late Saturday night, winning the Red Lantern award and $1,000 for being the final sled dog team to reach the Bering Sea coastal community on Alaska’s western coast.
Reitan also extinguished the widow’s lamp on the burled arch that towers over the finish line, a tradition that means there are no other mushers on the trail.
The world’s most famous sled dog race started for 49 mushers March 6 north of Anchorage. The nearly 1,000-mile trail took them over two mountain ranges, along the frozen Yukon River and then along the Bering Sea ice on Alaska’s western coast.
Twelve mushers scratched, half of them on Friday during a vicious storm that hammered mushers with high winds as they attempted to make the final 77 miles to Nome.
One of the mushers was rookie Gerhardt Thiart, a native of South Africa now living in Cheboygan, Michigan, who activated his emergency beacon because of the storm and a leg injury. A passerby on a snowmobile happened upon him and took him to a refuge in White Mountain. He was eventually flown to Nome for evaluation of his injury.
Brent Sass, a Minnesota native now living in Eureka, Alaska, won the race last Tuesday, beating out former Northern Michigan University student and U.S. Olympic Education Center athlete Dallas Seavey, who was going for his record sixth title.