Every year it seems as though Lance Mackey does something that makes us sit back and say "Whoa - how in doG's name does he DO that!!!" This year the Mackey Move that has me shaking my head in wonder was an incredible 115 mile run from Takotna, through Ophir to arrive first in Iditarod.
According to the leader board in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race web site, Lance finished his mandatory 24 hour layover at Takotna at 4:46 this morning. He blew through Ophir, stopping only long enough to sign in and sign out, at 7:24 in the morning, and came trotting into the checkpoint at Iditarod at 5:20 this evening. Current second place musher Aaron Burmeister finally arrived at the I'rod's 'half way point' at 9:15 pm, just shy of 4 hours behind Lance.
Apparently Lance made the 115 mile journey in one unbroken 12 and 1/2 hour run, stopping only to snack his dogs and maybe (just maybe) to take a leak. He passed 5 other teams and gained a 4 hour lead, and won the GCI Dorothy Page Half-way Award with it's prize of $3,000.00 worth of gold nuggets.
In my opinion it is equally impressive that Mackey is the only musher in the top 45 positions to still be running a full team of 16 dogs. All of the other front runners have dropped at least one dog at one of the earlier checkpoints.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, this is starting to look one heck of an exciting sled dog race.