Five Stranded Sled Dog Racers Outlast Storm, Reach Safety

Associated Press

Five teams in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race were safe Sunday after being stranded by a blizzard for much of the weekend, race officials said.

The five left White Mountain on Friday for the 55-mile run to the town of Safety, the last checkpoint before the finish line in Nome. They had been warned the weather was marginal.

When the storm hit, some of the mushers found a cabin, while others were forced to camp in the drifting snow, officials said. Planes could not drop the mushers food because of the poor weather.

But, one by one, the five teams checked into Safety on Sunday. By that time, a total of 28 mushers had reached the finish line, while 22 teams remained on the trail.

Susan Butcher of Manley won the race Wednesday. It took her about 11 1/2 days to complete the course.

Three Ordered to Withdraw

Three mushers were ordered withdrawn from the race on Saturday when they failed to reach Unalakleet, about 180 miles from Nome, within five days of the time the first musher arrived there.

Race officials imposed the rule to keep the 1,157-mile race, which started in Anchorage, from dragging on as long as a month.

Typically, there is a wide gap between the top mushers who are competing for a share of the $250,000 purse and mushers who are running for a variety of personal reasons.

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