The third Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race was clearly not the charm for Rachael Scdoris, the vision-impaired musher from Oregon.
First, a television crew making a video about her race crashed their helicopter in the Happy River canyon.
Scdoris got through the Happy and the Dalzell Gorge and across the Farewell Burn without problems. But the Iditarod on Friday reported Scdoris had scratched in the tiny village of Koyuk along the Bering Sea Coast east of Nome. Further details were not available.
However, Scdoris's guide -- former Iditarod champ Joe Runyan -- continued towards Nome. He checked out of Elim at 12:56 p.m. Friday behind 14 dogs, headed for White Mountain.
Scdoris first attempted the Iditarod in 2005 after a rules committee gave her an exception to the rules, permitting the use of a radio to ease communication with her visual guide. She made it about halfway to Nome before scratching.
A spirited competitor, Scdoris returned the next year with longtime Iditarod veteran Tim Osmar of Kasliof riding lookout ahead of her and made it to Nome. She then raved about all the teams she had beaten. She was 57th out of 71 race finishers.
Scdoris took last year off to fly the trail to help a film crew scout locations for the planned video about her Iditarod adventures.
She and Runyan were hoping to best the 57th place finish this year, even though they were traveling without the assistance of a rule waiver.
Scdoris never asked for one, Iditarod officials said, but that might have been because she had found the radios to be impractical. Iditarod officials told her that without a waiver, she couldn't get any help from Runyan with the care and handling of her team, but there is no provision in the rules to prevent mushers from traveling together.
That's exactly what a Minnesota couple -- Jennifer and Blake Freking -- were doing this year. They finished the race Friday. Jennifer officially crossed the finish line 9 seconds ahead of Blake.
Scdoris and Runyan had been traveling up the trail in a similar manner until Friday.