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Canada’s Aaron Peck will be 1st musher to leave Iditarod start line

  • Author: Anchorage Daily News
  • Updated: March 2
  • Published March 2

Aaron Peck and his Iditarider round the corner at Fourth Avenue and Cordova Street at the start of the 2018 Iditarod. (Bob Hallinen / ADN archive)

Alberta musher Aaron Peck will be the first to leave the Deshka Landing start line Sunday when the 49th Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race begins.

Peck drew the No. 2 bib during a virtual bib draw last week — the No. 1 bib traditionally is worn by an honorary musher.

The start order was digitally generated, one of many steps the race is taking this year in an effort to operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Usually, the draw happens at a prerace banquet attended by hundreds of people as well as the mushers.

A field of 47 mushers, including 12 rookies, are entered in the 49th annual race, which will go as far as the ghost town of Iditarod and then make a loop to a ghost town called Flat before returning to Deshka Landing. The new route takes the race out of towns and villages and reduced the mileage from 1,000 to 850 miles.

Teams will leave in two-minute intervals Sunday.

Peck is a five-time finisher whose best finish came in 2019, when he placed 23rd and received the Herbie Nayokpuk Award, given to the musher who best represents the spirit of Nayokpuk, an early race pioneer known for bringing a good attitude to the trail.

The second musher to leave will be 2019 champion Pete Kaiser of Bethel. Kaiser is one of four past champs in the race, along with Martin Buser, Dallas Seavey and Joar Leifseth Ulsom.

Iditarod start order

2) Aaron Peck, Grande Prairie, Canada

3) Pete Kaiser, Bethel

4) Kristy Berington, Knik

5) Jeremy Traska, Two Rivers (R)

6) Richie Diehl, Aniak

7) Jeff Deeter, Fairbanks

8) Dennis Kananowicz, Tolsona

9) Ramey Smyth, Willow

10 Nicolas Petit, Girdwood

11) Gunnar Johnson, Duluth, Minn.

12) Hal Hanson, Kenai (R)

13) Anna Berington, Knik

14) Ryne Olson, Two Rivers

15) Brenda Mackey, Two Rivers (R)

16) Riley Dyche, Fairbanks

17) Matt Hall, Two Rivers

18) Chad Stoddard, Anchorage (R)

19) Christopher Parker, Fairbanks (R)

20) Ryan Redington, Skagway

21) Brent Sass, Eureka

22) Joanna Jagow, Fairbanks (R)

23) Dallas Seavey, Talkeetna

24) Jessie Royer, Fairbanks

25) Wade Marrs, Willow

26) Michelle Phillips, Tagish, Canada

27) Will Troshynski, Fairbanks (R)

28) Mille Porsild, Denmark

29) Matt Failor, Willow

30) Joshua McNeal, Fairbanks (R)

31) Susannah Tuminelli, Willow (R)

32) Aliy Zirkle, Two Rivers

33) Travis Beals, Seward

34) Martin Buser, Big Lake

35) Sean Williams, Chugiak (R)

36) Aaron Burmeister, Nome/Nenana

37) Cody Strathe, Fairbanks

38) Lev Shvarts, Willow

39) Dakota Schlosser, Willow (R)

40) Dan Kaduce, Chatanika

41) Joar Leifseth Ulsom, Norway

42) Paige Drobny, Cantwell

43) Larry Daugherty, Eagle River

44) Jessie Holmes, Brushkana

45) Rick Casillo, Talkeetna

46) Cindy Gallea, Wykoff, Minn.

47) Sean Underwood, Talkeetna (R)

48) Victoria Hardwick, Bethel

Iditarod Coverage