Wow, when last we left the 2023 Iditarod we had Brent Sass leading the way at Eagle Island, followed by a big pack. I checked the status this morning, and as predicted Brent had been passed in Eagle Island, by Ryan Redington, Richie Diehl, Pete Kaiser, Jessie Holmes, and Nic Petit, all of whom were within a few miles of each other. Kelly Maixner and Mille Porsild were also in there - but without yet having taken their "8"s.
Brent Sass and team, happily mushing along
But weirdly Brent's rest was over ten hours! He needed to take an 8, but why was he still there? Turns out that sadly he had to scratch. Apparently he had a horrible toothache (!) and could not continue. A sad way for the defending champion to be out.
So where does that leave us now? Well let's check the Flow Tracker:
Ryan, Riche, and Pete are leading, with Jessie not far behind. At this point looks like one of them - and any one of them - is going to win. Yay, what a race! Kelly and Mille are in there too but still have to take their "8"s in Kaltag, which will cost them about 40 miles. No way they can win (remind me I said that). Matthew Failor is hanging in there, and Eddie Burke and Hunter Keefe are racing each other for rookie of the year and honestly not that far back. And then ... there's Nic. What's happening with him? He's resting right now while everyone is running - does that mean he'll make a big push and get back into it? Stay tuned!
A view of the Iditarod's GPS Tracker - click to enbiggen amazingly
Greg Vitello is definitely the red lantern, by more than 50 miles. He's been in Iditarod for 12 hours, and looks like he'll be the next scratch. If he does the competition for the lantern will be on, with six mushers hanging in between Shageluk and Anvik.
Jessie Holmes has run well - he's now my pick to win (although still rooting for Mille)