Zachariah Hughes, Alaska Public Media

Zachariah Hughes, Alaska Public Media
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Zachariah Hughes reports on city & state politics, arts & culture, drugs, and military affairs in Anchorage and South Central Alaska. zhughes [at] alaskapublic (dot) org | 907.550.8424 | @ZachHughesAK About Zachariah

The huskies running today’s Iditarod bear little resemblance to the bulky sled-dogs Alaskans used to rely on year-round. As breeding programs have refined genetic lines to create dogs designed to excel at the thousand-mile winter-time race, the cost of specialization has been a lack of versatility. Listen now

The top ten teams have arrived in Nome, filling out the upper ranks of the 2017 Iditarod Sled Dog Race. Listen now

In Episode 15, we talk about Mitch Seavey's record-breaking run, Aliy Zirkle vying for a top-10 finish, and taking a refreshing sauna in Unalakleet.

Mushers who have been competing in the Iditarod a long time have relationships and traditions they re-visit each time they run the race. And for Martin Buser, when he gets to Unalakleet, that means a bag of muktuk. Listen now

In Episode 14, we talk about Mitch Seavey being the first musher out of White Mountain, we get a lesson in Iditarod tradition and histoy, and discuss mushers' strategies for resting their dogs.

Iditarod mushers face a grueling next few days. Not just those fighting tooth-and-nail at the top of the pack but, also, everyone else with competitive ambitions jockeying for spots in the top 10, 20 and 30.

The Iditarod Trail Committee said it’s changing protocols for how it transports dropped sled dogs after an one died Friday while in the organization’s care. An early necropsy on the dog showed it had overheated, dying of hyperthermia while on board a plane. Listen now

In Episode 13, we talk about Mitch Seavey's rush up the coast, what's going on in the middle of the pack, a musher reflecting on his dog's death, and we address a bunch more listener questions.

In Episode 12, we talk about Mitch Seavey taking the lead, the Iditarod's international contingent, and we hear harrowing Iditasport tales.

In Episode 11, we talk about: How few dogs have been dropped, the rookies are making a run for it,  and Huslia's mushing tradition.

The first three mushers to arrive in Huslia all had 16 dogs on the line—the same number they started the race with nearly 500 miles ago. Up and down the leader-board mushers are arriving with big teams, and dropping far fewer dogs than in recent years. Listen now

A dog has died in this year’s Iditarod. It happened shortly before midnight at the Galena checkpoint. Listen now

At this point in the Iditarod, just about every top team has declared their mandatory 24-rest, and is either recuperating, or else charging back onto the trail. The rest gives both dogs and mushers a chance to catch their breath and rebuild some strength. And it’s one of the main indicators of a musher’s strategy, finally giving shape to the accelerating race in the days ahead.

In Episode 10, we talk about: Mitch Seavey the first into Huslia, 24-hour rests and how mushers determine when to take them, and the Iditarod's educational aspects.

Iditarod veteran Aliy Zirkle has had to upend her race plans and declare a 24-hour rest in Galena because of sick dogs. Listen now

In Episode 9, we talk about Wade Marrs leading the way to Ruby, run/rest strategies, two-way communications,and a story from Iditarod past.

As mushers speed toward Nome, a controversial new Iditarod rule is in effect for the first time. After a vote by the Board of Directors last fall, mushers are now allowed to carry two-way communication devices, like cell and satellite phones. But many competitors both young and old think the presence of technology goes against the spirit of the race. Listen now

Last year, Martin Buser had a tough Iditarod. He finished in 37th place, his lowest position on the leader-board in a decades-long career. But this year, as the four-time champion charges through the race’s early checkpoints, a lot of things are going better.

In Episode 8, we talk about Nicolas Petit being the first to the Yukon, Martin Buser's recovery from last year's injury, Yukon Quest v. Iditarod, and veteran dog teams.

Mushers are on the rivers heading out of Fairbanks right now, as the 45th Iditarod starts in earnest. This is the second time in three races that the restart has been in Fairbanks. And a lot of the mushers have vivid memories of the 2015 race, so this year, they’re trying to pack accordingly. Listen now