Aliy and the Red Team pulled into Takotna checkpoint at a squeak before 10pm this evening as the third team in. We managed to see part of the live broadcast but it was pretty dark by that stage and we didn’t get to see much at all except Mismo’s big body still in lead. We’ll keep an eye out for an Insider video that might show us some more.

She will rest the team here and she may even make this her mandatory 24 hour stop. Emily Schwing from KNOM spoke to Aliy in Nikolai and she says she will get as far as Takotna then make her decision.

When we pack the drop bags we pack for a number of contingencies and different race plans and Takotna was one of her possible 24 hour checkpoints. For 24 hours we send out a whole 40b sack of dog food, lots of meat and fish snacks, blankets and fresh jackets for the dogs, a change of clothing for the mushers and some seam sealed human meals for them to enjoy. We also snuck a few other unexpected goodies in the bags to surprise them such as popcorn and dried plantains.

Teams have three compulsory stops in the Iditarod. They must stop for 24 hours and can do that at any checkpoint they choose. When they take this they also make up their time differential so everyone is on equal footing after the start back on Sunday. The musher that went out last will take 24 hours exactly, then next one will take 24 hours and 2 minutes, next is 24 hours and 4 minutes and so on. There is a compulsory eight hour stop at any of the checkpoints on the Yukon River so they can choose between Ruby, Galena, Nulato and Kaltag. The final compulsory stop is for eight hours at White Mountain – about 75 miles from the finish.

Check out these cool pics of the Red Team moving towards McGrath checkpoint earlier today (click on red link). On the Insider video of the team coming through McGrath we saw she’d moved the dogs around again. Mismo and Kodiak were still in lead but she moved Scout and Dutch into swing, Willie was with Scruggs, Chipper with Chemo, Waylon and Izzy were running together, Schmoe got time on his own then the back four were still the same with Commando and Sandy then Felix and Clyde in wheel.

Screen shot from Insider video in McGrath as she “high fives” some fans

In the video we could see the vet talking to Aliy and asking if she had any issues with any dogs she wanted looked at but she said there was nothing she’s concerned about and that they are all good. She then took some time to sign an autograph for a young fan and give some “high fives” between the check-in point and the out chute. As she was leaving the checkpoint she yelled back “Thank you McGrath! as the dogs bounded back down the river.


Allen and his team are on the trail towards McGrath after resting for almost 5.5 hours in Nikolai. He still has 15 team mates with him. At this stage there is not much else we can tell you about the team as we haven’t seen any pictures or videos from further back in the pack. If you see something do please let us know!

12 Responses

  • Awesome update!
    Yes Aliy is so amicable at the checkpoints, even taking time to sign autographs. She goes above and beyond!

    The Black Team looks to be moving at a good clip toward McGrath.
    They might get to Takotna in time to see Aliy, if she takes her 24 there.

  • Tracker Break Trivia Answer

    Which team of 13 dogs made it all the way to Nome in the fastest time?

    The team of 13 dogs who made it all the way to Nome the fastest was: the SPK Red team: Scout, Quito, Nacho, Scruggs, Scooter, Willie, Chica, Mac, Mismo, Waylon, Izzy, Schmoe, and Clyde.

    They were accompanied by their musher Aliy Zirkle, and assisted in the earlier portion of the race by their teammates, Sissy, Nelson and Outlaw.

    Their time was 9 days, 4 hours 44 minutes and 25 seconds.

  • I got up at 1:30 am EST and turned on the live feed from Takotna just to see Aliy and the Red Team come in….how awesome!! I'm assuming she has chosen to take her 24 hour rest there…it seems to be a favorite place for the 24 being famous for their pies and all! I do see they offer a bagged lunch for those Teams moving through the checkpoint….how sweet! If you haven't seen the video of Aliy signing in and out of McGrath its a must see….as the Team bounds down the slope back down to the river, the fans on the bank are yelling their goodbyes and good luck wishes…and Aliy now down on the river is yelling her Thanks back to them….I watched it 3 times….that video really sums up Aliys graciousness and cheerful personality!

  • The pictures that Sebastian took of the red team are great. Thanks for the link on that. The dogs look really good. I'm always impressed at how Aliy is willing to sign a few autographs with a smile on her face when you know she has to be tired.

  • RED TEAM AWESOME LEADER INTERVIEW – BE SURE TO LISTEN TO THE END CHATTER! (Dallas, Aliy, Paul Gebhardt and fionish with Aliy again)

    Fantastic interview (s) by Emily Schwing (she is a really good journalist) – just listen to the voices of the three mushers and what they are saying – and how they say it.

    Thanks so much for including this link!!!

    Emily was the interviewer in 2014, if memory serves:

  • In addition to their many talents as athletes, SPK teams are very attractive. These dogs and mushers seem always to be smiling. And what is not to love about that? Go Aliy Go Allen Go Dawgs Go SPK dog bloggers.

  • Loving the updates! Thank you! I have a question – am wondering if Aliy and Allen carry dogs to give them rest along the trail like Dallas, Jeff, and other mushers are doing with the caboose. My opinion is that the dogs should be running the race! Not napping in the caboose…..keeps it a pure race for the dogs and learning what it is like to run 1000 miles. Glad to see both teams resting in Takotna! GO SPK! – Julie and Diane cheering from Seattle!

  • WOW!!

    FYI – check out "THE DOGS" subpage – amazing – new photos of the two new letters – ADORABLE…thanks so much Moira!!!




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