More than two-thirds of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race’s field has reached Nome as of Thursday night -- but one sled dog’s 300-mile journey to safety is also drawing a healthy amount of attention.
Race standings list Aaron Peck as the latest musher to arrive at the Burled Arch, claiming 41st place with a 5:09 p.m. arrival Thursday. An additional 13 mushers remain on the trail, with Bob Chlupach bringing up the rear after checking in to Shaktoolik at 5:25 p.m.
Iditarod spokesperson Erin McLarnon says the race’s happiest ending could be that of May, a sled dog with Jamaican musher Newton Marshall’s team that got separated from his sled en route to Nikolai.
After Marshall unsuccessfully tried to find May and scratched in Nikolai the next day, sightings back along the trail finally led to the dog being tracked down Wednesday near Horseshoe Lake, less than a mile from four-time champion Martin Buser’s kennel.
“She was still wearing her harness,” McLarnon said. “She still had her Iditarod tags, so that’s how we knew who she was.”
According to McLarnon, May -- initially identified as “Mae” in Iditarod press releases -- was on loan to Marshall from musher Jim Lanier. May was being kept at a kennel and fed Thursday, but a reunion could take a little longer: Lanier arrived in Nome at 12:08 p.m., taking 35th place.
“If she had a voice, the stories she could tell,” McLarnon said.
A total of 12 mushers have scratched from the race, with Cindy Abbott the latest to leave the trail in Kaltag Wednesday night due to a muscle strain and concerns about the best interest of her 12-dog team.
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