Four-time Iditarod champion Dallas Seavey first to McGrath

Dallas Seavey feeds his dogs the first of several courses in McGrath on Tuesday. (Zachariah Hughes/for ADN)

Four-time Iditarod champion Dallas Seavey was the first musher into the McGrath checkpoint late Tuesday afternoon.

He and his 14-dog team pulled in at 4 p.m.

McGrath is about 300 miles into the 850-mile race.

For Seavey’s first-place arrival, he won mittens made of beaver fur and moose hide, plus a beaver-fur hat. Both were made by local residents.

Seavey, 34, opted to stop and rest in McGrath.

Mushers are also getting swabbed for COVID-19 at the race checkpoint.

Dallas Seavey pours boiling water into a mix of meat, kibble and fat, the first of multiple courses he gave his dogs upon arriving in McGrath on Tuesday. (Zachariah Hughes/for ADN)
Dallas Seavey receives a mandatory COVID-19 nasal swab upon arriving at the McGrath checkpoint, Tuesday March 9th, 2021 during the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. Not long after, he was told by a volunteer his test was negative. (Zachariah Hughes/for ADN)

Behind Seavey on the trail were Pete Kaiser, Richie Diehl, Joar Leifseth Ulsom and Travis Beals. Both Kaiser and Leifseth Ulsom are former Iditarod champions, and Diehl is this year’s Kuskokwim 300 winner.

Kaiser, Diehl, Leifseth Ulsom and Beals all bedded down their dogs at McGrath Tuesday evening, while Brent Sass and his 14-dog team blew through the checkpoint around 6:30 p.m. and rested further down the trail.

Richie Diehl was the third musher to arrive in McGrath on Tuesday. (Zachariah Hughes/for ADN)
Richie Diehl handles dog chores upon arriving in McGrath. (Zachariah Hughes/for ADN)

The 2021 Iditarod started on Sunday, and 44 teams remained in the competition by Tuesday evening.

Iditarod fan favorite Aliy Zirkle dropped out of the race Monday night, after suffering a concussion and other injuries while racing. 

RELATED: Musher Aliy Zirkle is injured on Iditarod trail, flown to Anchorage for care

Iditarod Race Director Mark Nordman said the trail conditions beyond McGrath are very snowy.

“I mean a lot of snow,” he said. “A lot of light powdery snow with no base.” 

He said a trail crew was out Tuesday working on the route.

A coffee hut in a wall-tent, complete with a wood stove inside, sells hot drinks close to the McGrath checkpoint. (Zachariah Hughes/for ADN)
Precautionary notes are posted outside buildings in McGrath used by Iditarod, which is enforcing a system of pods and bubbles among volunteers to limit the risk of viral transmission during the sled dog race. (Zachariah Hughes/for ADN)
Mushers who take their 24 hour rests in McGrath will have access to a small airplane hangar for rest, complete with a water tank and gym mats to sleep on. (Zachariah Hughes/for ADN)

Reach reporter Tegan Hanlon at or 907-550-8447.

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Tegan Hanlon is the deputy digital editor at Alaska Public Media. Reach her at

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