Bill’s retirement from the race

In 1998, I skijored the Iditarod Trail for the first time, racing to Mcgrath. Every year since, I have either raced or been on the Trail as trailbreaker and support. The Trail and the Iditarod Trail Invitational have been my passion for 20 years, occupying my thoughts some part of every day of the year. It has been my great honor to be associated with an amazing group of athletes, volunteers and friends of the race throughout the years who have helped to facilitate the Iditarod Trail Invitational. The race has been a great success thanks to all of you.

As most of you know Kathi, has handled all the administrative duties for the race with her team of volunteers for the past several years. My only duties have been that of trailbreaker and race marshal. Two years ago, I told an amazing group at our volunteers dinner that it was with great pride when I looked around both on the Trail and at those in the room and realized I was absolutely not needed.

The time has come for me to step away from the ITI and to let the ideas and passion of a younger generation take over. Kyle Durand will be joining Kathi as a co-director of the race and brings a wealth of experience from the military special operations community, running businesses and toughing it out on the Trail. Adrian Baer will continue to support Kathi and Kyle on the trail, as he supported me during the past several years. I know that Kathi, Kyle and the ITI team will continue the race in the same tradition as always and will do an even better job of presenting all of you with the quality experience you have come to expect each year.

I can not express how it feels to have all of you – racers, volunteers, friends of the race and fans – support Kathi and me throughout the years. It was a true honor to have racers come from around the world, volunteers tirelessly support us, and friends along the Trail open their doors to us. I hope all of you will continue to support Kathi, Kyle and the Iditarod Trail Invitational in the same way as they continue this great tradition.

Till we meet again somewhere, sometime.

Bill Merchant

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