ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The 46th running of the Last Great Race was full of drama: Closed checkpoints, varying race strategies, and back-and-forth between leaders that ended in the first career Iditarod win for Norwegian Joar Leifseth Ulsom.
"Awesome, fantastic," Ulsom - the first Norwegian to win the thousand-mile race since Robert Sorlie in 2005 - said after his win. "It's unreal. That was a good feeling, I'll tell you that. One happy man and dog team."
Girdwood's Nicolas Petit claimed runner-up honors after leading much of the race, but getting turned around on the way up the coast. "I just followed instructions," Petit said. " 'Stay away from the back of the pack.' "
As for weather and trail conditions, certain checkpoints were not viable last year. "We've got a bunch of pilots sitting here," said Jodie Guest of the Iditarod logistics team early on in the race, "because the weather is not flyable."
2018 was also a diverse race in terms of racing styles and strategies, which differed from team to team.
In Elim, Jessie Holmes - who would become the 2018 Rookie of the Year - was giving his dogs a break in the middle of the day.
"My dogs are resting," he said at the time. "And now [the other teams] are running in the heat of the day, which one of my mentors taught me never to do."
This weekend, another go at the Last Great Race, where we'll find out another few dozen mushers' fates as they vie for the top spot, or the race of a lifetime.