With a winter storm blanketing their approach, the first two mushers are away on the final leg of the 2020 Yukon Quest 1,000 Mile International Sled Dog Race.
Michelle Phillips and Brent Sass each stayed less than 15 minutes in Carmacks— Phillips out right at midnight, Sass an hour and six minutes later. Phillips stopped to rest approximately 20 miles down trail from Carmacks shortly before 2am PST, where Sass overtook her roughly an hour later. Sass would stop to rest just after 5am PST about 50 miles from Braeburn, Phillips passing him just before 8am PST. A surging Sass gave chase almost immediately, however, catching up to Phillips within an hour, steadily expanding his lead for the remaining 40 miles to reach Braeburn roughly five miles and minutes ahead at 3:37pm PST.
Cody Strathe strengthened his hold on third place, increasing his lead over Allen Moore throughout the day. Opting out of rest at McCabe Creek, Strathe and arrived in Carmacks around 9:30am PST, staying only to restock from his drop bags and drop one dog, leaving 20 minutes later with a team of nine. Moore rested six and a half hours at McCabe, reaching Carmacks just after 2pm PST, where he took further rest and was back on-trail by 6:30pm PST. At time of writing, Strathe is approximately 20 miles from Braeburn, Moore approaching the 50 mile.
Torsten Kohnert and Ryne Olson sparred over fifth place today, Olson beating Kohnert out of Carmacks just after 11am PST and nursing a 5-mile edge into McCabe. But Kohnert reclaimed fifth not long after 7pm PST, passing the resting Olson about 25 miles from Carmacks, and arriving at the checkpoint at 9:45. End of day finds Olson with seven miles to go before seeing the Carmacks lights.
Nora Själin began Day 10 some 25 miles down trial from Scroggie Creek, where Rob Cooke and Richie Beattie were resting. Beattie was back on-trail by 12:30am PST, Pat Noddin taking the vacant Scroggie parking spot circa 2am PST. Själin reached Pelly Crossing just after 7pm PST, where she remains taking rest. Team Beattie joined her at 11:28pm, with Cooke nearing 10 miles out, and Noddin resting at Stepping Stone.
Olivia Webster put King Solomon and the Black Hills squarely in her rearview today, reaching Scroggie circa 4pm PST, where she remains, taking some well-earned rest.
After the mandatory 8-hour layover at Braeburn, Sass departed in fresh snow and gusty winds for at 11:37pm PST with 11 dogs. Phillips and her 11 were hot on his tracks at 12:14am PST. Based on distance and run times, the first mushers are expected to reach the finish line as early noon tomorrow. The YQ2020 finish line is located at Shipyards Park in downtown Whitehorse.
Standings as of 12:00am PST:
- Brent Sass
- Michelle Phillips
- Cody Strathe
- Allen Moore
- Torsten Kohnert
- Ryne Olson
- Nora Själin
- Richie Beattie
- Rob Cooke
- Pat Noddin
- Olivia Webster
This race day update is brought to you by Yukon Quest Major Sponsor Whitehorse Motors.