Day 20 - Expecting Finishers In Nome
It is day 20 in the 2019 Iditarod Trail Invitational and 12 athletes are still making their way to Nome in the ITI 1000. Six athletes have previously finished the ITI 1000, but the other six have paid their dues on the Iditarod Trail by finishing the ITI 350 one or more times in the past.
John Logar and Petr Ineman are expected to be the first finishers in Nome this evening. They have been riding together for more than 700 miles and took the lead between Ophir and Iditarod from Troy Szcurkowski. Troy is in third place, 14 miles behind the lead duo, and has been battling trench foot for more than a week.
Jose Bermudez is in White Mountain in fourth place, 25 miles behind Troy. Meanwhile, the women’s duo of Missy Schwarz and Kim Riggs, who have ridden together since the start of the ITI on February 24th, is expected to arrive in Elim tonight.
The lead runner, Beat Jegerlehner, on his 5th run to Nome, is approaching Shaktoolik, around 750 miles into the race. Beat is about 100 miles ahead of the next runner, Eric Johnson, who is also a previous finisher of the ITI 1000 and who is currently in Kaltag.
Iowa’s Steve Cannon and Germany’s Peter Felten left Unalakleet this morning and are about halfway through the 40-mile leg to Shaktoolik. Suffering from gut problems, Steve stayed in Unalakleet for two days until he felt well enough to continue.
The ever-positive and smiling Austrian, Klaus Schweinberger, is in third place in the foot division, just a few miles ahead of Australian Grant Maughan. Both men will reach Eagle Island tonight, the halfway point in the long, desolate and tough 120-mile Yukon River section. As the last competitors on the Iditarod Trail this year, they face the daunting task of covering ground over trails that have not seen traffic in a few days.