ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Heading into Friday it looked like the 36th Iron Dog was going to be a case of Youth vs. Experience with defending champions, Mike Morgan and Chris Olds, holding a slim lead over sophomore duo Casey Boylan and Brian Leslie of Team 14.
“When you win any competitive event you have a bulls-eye on you next year, everybody is gunning for you. I expected that, and we didn't really let that change our game plan," Morgan told a KTUU crew in Nome.
Since Nome, Morgan and Olds have been able to extend their lead, and currently sit around 43 minutes ahead of Boylan and Leslie at the Manley Hot Springs checkpoint. Both teams have 18-hour layovers there before heading to Fairbanks.
Just 187 miles separate Morgan and Olds from their second-straight Iron Dog victory. They look to become the first back-to-back champions since Mark McKenna and Dusty VanMeter in 2013. Olds will be looking for his fourth Iron Dog title since 2011, when he won back-to-back titles with Tyler Huntington.
Similar to their 2018 race, Olds and Morgan have been able to keep a commanding lead throughout the race, despite being the last team to leave the start line.
A winner is expected in Fairbanks at Pike’s Landing at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday.