The race, in some ways, is back to normal: Mushers are again dashing 1,000 miles to Nome.
Some Kuskokwim mushers competing in this weekend’s K300 race say that they’ve been contending with some of the most challenging training conditions of their careers.
Race officials have begun tracing who Johnson may have had close contact with over the last 300 miles of trail and multiple checkpoints.
Gunnar Johnson of Minnesota tested positive for COVID-19 at the checkpoint in McGrath, near race mile 310, more than a third of the way into the Iditarod.
There’s required testing and face masks, plus a shorter trail and a smaller group of mushers signed up to compete.
The revised race route is among a list of changes to the event triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, race officials say.
Though Bethel musher Pete Kaiser was met with a huge welcome from the hometown crowd, the real excitement came later, with dramatic sprints to the finish and an unexpected marriage proposal.
Bethel musher Pete Kaiser’s team of eight dogs crossed under the Burled Arch in Nome at 3:39 a.m. Wednesday. Kaiser is the first Iditarod champion with Yupik roots.
Race officials reduced the maximum team size from 16 to 14 for this year’s Iditarod. That means quite a bit for race strategies, speeds and the trade-offs that mushers face as they travel across Alaska.