Currently 1 F in McGrath. Noaa forecast for the McGrath area:
Tonight: Mostly cloudy. Scattered flurries east of mcgrath. Lows zero to 8 above. Light winds.
Saturday: Mostly cloudy in the morning then clearing. Highs in the upper teens. Light winds.
Saturday Night: Mostly clear. Lows 8 below to 4 above. Northeast winds to 10 mph.
23 racers have arrived in McGrath so far. the last one was Dan Jansen this afternoon. Ausilia, Sebastiano, Joe Grant, Joe Logar and Jim Barkely are on the home stretch to McGrath. There is 20 more racers behind them on the trail across the Farewell Burn, once the largest burnt area in North America. It is the place where racers have had hallucinations during the race. It is a long desolate stretchÂ across barren wilderness inhabited by wolves and a wild herd of buffalo. There is one place to find shelter in the Bear Creek public use shelter cabin put in place by the BLM. The BLM is the overall manager of the historic Iditarod Trail and has several of those cabins in place. In the past 3 years they have added some between Ophir and Ruby (Northern Route/even years) and Ophir and Shageluk on the Southern Route/odd year on the trail to Nome.
This year the Nome racers will follow the the Southern Route, we switch every other year just like Iditarod does. For many the Southern Route is thought to be harder, because it is only used every 2 years where the Northern Route is used every year by the Iron Dog Snowmobile race ( which starts a week before the ITI) and part of it follows and old road bed into Ruby.
Only 1 woman ever has traveled the distance on foot (officially) Janine Duplessis with her husband on their honeymoon in 2000 in 41 days 10 hours and 30 minutes. This year we have 3 very qualified with one or more 350 finishes signed up: Anne Ver Hoef, Loreen Hewitt and Shawn McTaggert.
Tim Hewitt is walking and running to Nome self supported with a 100 lbs sled, carrying all his own food and fuel for 24 days.
The first racer to depart McGrath on his way to Nome is Bob Ostrom who arrived in McGrath about 24 hours ago. The next bikers on the trail heading for Nome are Ausilia and Sebastiano and veteran racer couple for Italy.
This year 12 racers have signed up the the 1000 mile distance. Since the inaugural year of 2000 only 36 individuals have finished the 1000 mile distance human powered. Tim Hewitt has finished it 6 times on foot. More stats and finishers are found here:
This year’s ITI will go into the history books with the largest number of athletes at the starting line with 48, no scratches on day 5, it looks like all 48 will make it to McGrath and the Nome racers another 650 miles, new records, fastest finishing times overall. Record year for the racers and the ITI organizers. A big success!