‘I don’t agree with any of this’-- Lanier denied entry to 2020 Iditarod

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Veteran Musher Jim Lanier said he's been denied entry to the 2020 Iditarod.

“Very much disappointed, and I was all set to run the race again,” Lanier told Channel 2 by phone on Thursday.

Lanier said the Iditarod told him he won’t be able to race because of his recent scratches from the Iditarod, along with feedback from the Yukon Quest following Lanier’s most recent finish in that race in February.

Lanier was proud of his 2019 Quest performance and felt he had a strong finish of 12 days, 4 hours, 33 minutes.

“Everyone saw me out there and complimented me on how well I finished,” Lanier said. “My dogs were in wonderful shape."

The veteran musher also competed in the Copper Basin 300 and thought both races would qualify him for the 2020 Iditarod.

“I really want to do the race (Iditarod). I’ve been in the race every decade since in the 1970s,” Lanier said.

The Chugiak Musher has scratched from his past four Iditarods.

In 2018, Scott Janssen, who is nicknamed “The Mushin’ Mortician,” came across then 77-year-old Jim Lanier between the checkpoints of White Mountain and Safety in an area known as the Blowhole. Lanier’s team “was stuck, and Jim was starting to freeze,” wrote Janssen’s support team on Facebook. Janssen stayed with Lanier before the two men were flown to Nome, both scratching from the race.

Lanier said he doesn’t plan to take legal action against the Iditarod, but hopes they change their mind.

“It’s a wonderful race, and I want to participate again,” Lanier said.

Even if he isn’t given an opportunity to race the 2020 Iditarod, Lanier contends he has no plans of retiring, saying he will continue to mush in smaller races.

KTUU reached out to the Iditarod on Thursday, but race officials didn't immediately respond to the request for comment.

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