Its 7.30am Monday morning.


Aliy and 12 team mates are making their way up the coast towards Shaktoolik checkpoint after spending four hours in Unlakleet. She left one mate in the checkpoint to return to our Anchorage crew. We’ll let you know as soon as we can who it is. Current standings have them in seventh position!

Aliy will be enjoying this section of trail. She loves the Blueberry Hills section – here are a couple of “Aliy Cams” from last year when she and her team ran through the area. They will be climbing up to the 1000 mile summit right at this moment.

Blueberry Hills

South of Shaktoolik

There isn’t a lot else to tell you at this point – they are about 25 miles from SHAK and we will look out for videos once they arrive. Check out Don Bowers description of this section of trail.


Overnight, the Black Team made their way through Nulato, taking a short break for a couple of hours, and have been stopped in Kaltag for around 2.5 hours at the time of writing. We will expect them to stay at least another couple of hours before hitting the portage trail towards UNK.

Remember to support Aliy’s Lead On! campaign. By donating, you support grassroots, youth-empowered education and projects in local Alaskan communities. To find out more and how to donate go to All moneys donated during March, April and May will go towards helping children from the villages along the Iditarod Trail attend the Lead On! Conference in November.

8 Responses

  • We do know Aliy will be working hard ski poling through some of this. I hope she's not demanding too much from her recently repaired foot.

  • I noticed that Allen had stopped in Nulato since his schedule and pace allowed it, gentlemanly as always.

    I watched the tracker until Aliy arrived at UNK this morning. They had not been going slow (7 – 8 mph and not as slow as I have seen in long ages ago), but not as quick as those behind her. Then I noticed a slowing around midninght. Next thing I know they are roaring on their way to UNK. What happened? Did she change leaders? If so, that was a winning combo for that piece of the trail!

  • Still watching the tracker and this team has the most pep I have seen at this stage in the race. Ray's team really seems to have benefited from doing his 8 hr in Kaltag and then 4 on the portage. He really has some speed right now and he left after Aliy and it took him all the way to 754 to catch up.

    I am impressed with the speed on this team. I took a photo of the portage last night while I was watching Aliy come into UNK. The portage looked like the beginning of the race across the Willow flats. We can really see how weather and the Alaska Range works to spread mushers out across the course of the race.

    This year, mushers who would be much farther behind are running exceptionally close to the front runners – fascinating.

    I read Nessmuk's comment in the forums re: dog carrying and he made one point more clearly than I – having healthy dogs jostle around inside a box across a rough trail can't be good for them. I am on a tear about this, if you can't tell.

  • This is a very tough race on the dogs. And Aliy. She arrives in Shaktoolik about 9h's after Mitch has left there. There is not enough distance in miles to have enough time to catch him. This year was a strange weather year, in this race the weather wasn't the main factor. The team looked exhausted in the CB300, then I thought that maybe the summer work on the glacier didn't help. On top of that the several different tough races weekend after weekend might not have given the chance for those marathon young athletes to go through the rest phase, necessary for the peaking in the 1000m Iditarod, crown of the racing season. Beside a "bug" the subtle intestinal stress syndrome might be an additional weakening factor. It is utterly admirable to see Aliy work so hard and be in such a top ten position inspite of those adverse factors. Bravo! The team might be in an up phase- ; the trail isn't long enough? Let's see what surprises for the front runners this race still bears – it's not over yet!!
    Good spirits and all of our hearts go out to Aliy and the dogs. Go, puppy's ,fly.

  • Good commentary here. Just know I am right there with you Linda! Thanks for your insight. Charlene Erie, PA

  • Its been a strange winter indeed….this race has seen it all…super cold to above 20….but last I looked not a breath of wind on the coast. People are saying it feels odd. Anyhow, its been a challanging race for Aliy and the Red Team….just like the YQ it would have been nice to see what this squad could have done at 100%….darn stomach bug! Aliy will finish this race with a smile…and more friends along the trail…we couldnt be prouder! That video of her in Shak was definately classic happy go lucky Aliy! Made me smile back at her!

    If anyone reads my blog they would know Im not a fan of dog hauling. Call me old fashioned, but I think this race is better when its 16 dogs at Anchorage set out on a 1,000 mile trail to share the experiance with their dogs…and to race of course! All four feet on the trail and letting them do what they were born and love to do…..RUN! I can only hope the ITC isnt finished with this issue yet!

  • I agree with Nessmuck re: "not being a fan of dog hauling."

    The idea just came to me. When I watch the Shak video I see the Red Team is a pack of good looking dogs who smile at the camera. And their musher does too – because you know what?

    The joy and pathos, natural beauty and excitement and bonding with these wonderful four legged members of the family is an experience enough!

    Yes winning is really nice. But winning with class and decency and ethics – not to mention looking good – is the best reward – everybody else, eat your heart out.

    Go Red Team!!!

    Go Black Team!!!

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