The 2014 Iditarod is currently being led by last year’s ninth place finisher, Sonny Lindner. Aaron Burmeister is in second place.
The lack of snow that almost made the Iditarod start in Fairbanks rather than Willow has taken it’s toll on the mushers. Veteran mushers Linwood Fiedler and DeeDee Jonrowe, the pink-clad musher who has survived breast cancer, both scratched in Rohn early Tuesday morning, citing rough terrain through the Dalzell Gorge. Jim Lanier, the oldest musher in the Iditarod at 74, scratched on Tuesday as well.
According to Aliy Zirkle, who placed second the last two years in a row, in an Anchorage Daily News article, there was “No snow. Zip. Zero. None,” going across the Farewell Burn, a 35-mile stretch between Rohn and Nikolai that also shook up some mushers. It gave Martin Buser, who was leading the race at the time but is now in ninth place, a sprained ankle.
Scott Janssen, known as the “Mushin’ Mortician,” injured his ankle and scratched on the Farewell Burn. Jake Berkowitz also scratched on the Farewell Burn after breaking his sled beyond repair.
For a short time, Zirkle led the pack. She was the first musher into Takotna on Tuesday, but chose to stay there for the mandatory 24-hour layover. She was there for over an hour before Nicolas Petit, now in sixth place, passed her. He will take his 24-hour layover further down the trail. Zirkle is now in tenth place, but the mushers ahead of her have not yet taken their mandatory rests.
Paul Gebhardt, four-time winner Jeff King and 2011 winner John Baker round out the top five on their way from Ophir to Cripple, the half-way point in the race. The first musher into Cripple gets $3,000.
So far, 12 mushers have scratched or been withdrawn, leaving 57 mushers still in the race.