The top three teams in this year’s Iditarod have pulled into White Mountain, the final big stop along the trail. But as KNOM’s Emily Schwing reports, it’s not entirely clear who will finish first.
The first team to pull into the second to last checkpoint on the 1000 mile trail was Dallas Seavey’s. Seavey said there was a point on the Yukon River when he wondered if he was even still in contention for a top finish.
“There was a time in this race where I thought I had a small market share when it come to who had a chance at winning this thing,” said Seavey.
Seavey said he was looking over his shoulder all night on the roughly 75-mile run from Koyuk. He anticipates doing the same on his way to Nome.
“It’s a habit, I can’t help it. I’ve been surprised too many times. You’re watching for one team and another team pops up out of somewhere,” said Seavey.
39 minutes later, Dallas Seavey’s father, Mitch drove his dog team into White Mountain. He smiled widely at the idea of racing against his son.
“I don’t mean it as a cliché, but I have two chances to win. I’d a lot rather win myself and I’m gonna do everything I can. I’ll give him nothing for free, including dogs or a college education,” said Seavey.
Seavey also knows it will be hard to make up the time he needs to catch his son’s team.
“..Makes it fun, makes it very cool to be here both of us. Unless there’s a big earthquake one of us is going to win,” said Seavey.
A big earthquake–or something like it–is exactly what Brent Sass needs. He’s currently poised to finish in a solid third place, but he does have an outside chance to finish even higher.
“With what it is now, I have to have a spectacular run and they have to have something go wrong, that’s basically what has to happen at this point but anything is possible,” said Sass.
Regardless of the time gap Sass says he won’t stop racing until his team crosses under the burled arch.
“Oh no! I mean they’re still sitting here. They haven’t left yet and I’m not that far behind and I have been going back and forth with them for the last few hundred miles, so you can’t ever give up, that’s for sure,” said Sass.
The next 77 miles will be some of the most competitive in this year’s race. Whether they are some of the most competitive miles mushed in the race’s history won’t be decided until teams reach Nome.