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Follow Pinedale musher Matt Anderson
Race Started: Saturday, March 3, 2007
Finished! Friday, March 16, 2007

2007 Iditarod map. Graphic modified by Pinedale Online from the base Iditarod map. Click for larger map detail. Click for larger map

Where is Matt? Race Day 14: Matt arrived in Nome at 3:45 PM on Friday, March 16th, finishing 40th out of 58 racers who finished. His total time on the trail was 12 days and 45 minutes. The winner, Lance Mackey, finished in 9 days, 5 hours, 8 minutes and 41 seconds. (Description of route)

This was the 1st year 26-year-old Matt Anderson has raced in the Iditarod. Matt works for the Pinedale BLM office. The 1,150-mile (approximate) race began on Saturday, March 3rd. Mushers have teams of from 12-16 dogs and cover the race in 10 to 16 days. The Iditarod Champion will receive over $68,000 in cash, plus a brand new Dodge Ram 4x4 pickup. Each musher who finishes will receive $1,049. Over $600,000 in prize money is given to the top 30 finishers in the race each year. Various other awards and smaller prizes are also awarded along the trail to the first mushers into the checkpoints and half-way point.

News: Where is Matt?
Finished: Nome!
(Friday PM)

Miles Traveled: 1131

Friday, March 16, Race Day 14: NOME! Matt arrived in Nome around 3:45 PM Alaska time, finishing 40th in the race! His total time on the trail was 12 days and 45 minutes.

Earlier Check-ins

Related Links:

2007 IDITAROD website

Cabelas Iditarod

Iditarod Facts

Iditarod Photo Gallery

Matt's Musher Profile

Matt's Website

Pinedale Online story about Matt

Follow Matt in the 2007 IDITAROD Race
(Note: Maps below showing mileage traveled are as of the time of our daily updates, not day's end.)

Friday, March 16: Race Day 14: NOME! Lance Mackey was the first musher into Nome, arriving on Tuesday, March 13th a little after 8:00 pm. Matt arrived in Nome on Friday afternoon, March 16th, at 3:45 pm, with 9 dogs. His final position was 40th with a total time on the trail of 12 days and 45 minutes. His average overall speed was 3.89 miles per hour. His total overall trail time was 166:52 (hours:mins) and his total overall rest time at checkpoints was 165:43 (hours:mins). Winner Mackey finished the race in 9 days, 5 hours, 8 minutes and 41 seconds, with a total overall average speed of 5.07 mph. 23 teams scratched and one team disqualified.

(Update, Sunday, March 18th, 10 teams are still out on the trail headed to Nome.)

Matt Update from Alaska: Nome. He did it!

Friday, March 16, 2007 8:53 PM

Nome! He did it! Iditarod Veterans have said nearly the entire race that this trail was one of the toughest and nastiest yet. The numbers support that theory. This year set the record for the highest numbers of scratches with 24. Surprisingly, 17 of the 24 scratches were Iditarod veterans, including such big names as Doug Swingly and Deedee Jonrowe. Others are still mushing toward Nome. Before the start of this year's race, only 585 people had ever completed the Iditarod in its storied 35 year run (over 1,500 people have climbed Everest).

Matt rolled into Nome at 3:45 p.m Alaska time on Friday, March 16 th. A total of 12 days, 45 minutes for a finish of 41st finish of Iditarod #35.  His finishing 9 dogs were Onion, Lonely, BFWP, Porkchop, Nacho, Sharkey and 3 Jason Barron dogs of Onyx, Hexagon, and Tea Tree. Matt's dropped dogs were Maddie, Salmon, Fir, Abel, Josey and Jason Barron dogs Tyrant and Argus. I spoke with Matt around 7:00 p.m. Alaska time he told me that the dogs were good but "tired, skinny and bruised".

Matt sounded well, but I saw on Iditarod Insider that he had a small frost bite lesion on his nose (so much for the nose job the University of Iowa paid to fix!).  Matt claims to have faced one obstacle after another for the entire race. As an example, he detailed a terrible wreck between Ophir and Iditarod, in which he was sure that Maddie had died. "She was a block of ice, a nose, and a mouth. I was sure she was dead. When I got all of the ice off of her, she just started coughing and came back to life."

I relayed as many messages as I could and focused on the one most agreed upon "We're proud of you Matt."

Before he let me go to load dogs on a plane to Anchorage, Matt told me he had stories to tell all night long, but that's another e-mail. 'Til then . . .

To Nome!   Jessman Smith

Iditarod Iowan Fans March 16 (11:50AM):

Matt should be on the home stretch! After reaching White Mountain at 8:48 p.m Alaska time, he will have to take a mandatory 8 hour rest. That puts him leaving at 4:48 a.m (7:48 central time) for Safety and Nome!  As of the time of this e-mail, and had not reported Matt's departure, but they can run a little slow on reporting. He should have a pretty straight shot into Nome to finish under the Burled Arches. He should arrive sometime later  tonight.

Race and candid pictures are up and running, to view them click here or visit the site under Iditarod 2007 Pictures tab. Don't forget to check out the t-shirts under "Join the Team!' if you are interested. 

To Nome!   Jessman Smith


Thursday, March 15: Race Day 13: Elem.

Matt Update from Alaska:

Iditarod Iowan Fans March 15 (11:50AM):

Matt is into Elim. He's mushed 1008 miles with only 123 to go (he's done that in a single training run!). The weather over the next couple of days on the Seward Peninsula is going provide good conditions for mushing: Mostly sunny, high temperatures between 0 and 15, with winds blowing 15 to 20 mph and gusts up to 30 mph.  Matt will travel 28 miles to Golovin and then 18 to White Mountain. At White Mountain, he will take his mandatory 8 hour rest. We expect him in White Mountain tonight, then NOME at 6-8:30 Alaska time.

I'm trying to get pictures from the race up before Matt's finish, but T-Shirts are now available on under the "Join the Team!" tab. Since Matt's hometown of Shenandoah bought nearly every shirt we ordered, I expect orders to be shipped on Tues. Enjoy! He's almost there, thanks to your help.

To Nome!   Jessman Smith


Wednesday, March 14: Race Day 12: Left Unalakleet, headed for Shaktoolik.

Matt Update from Alaska:

Wednesday, March 14, 2007 (11:01 AM)

Matt is into Shaktoolik. He now faces a 48 mile trip to Koyuk. The trip, although very flat, is bleak and monotonous. So much so, that if you miss a trail marker, you could easily wonder off trial for miles as there is no geological marker to aid your navigation. The white expanse of the area can serve as an obstacle to the dogs, who occasional become intimidated by the scenery. The last 40 miles of the trip are across the frozen ocean and severe winds can be a problem. They say that a musher should check the weather before heading, to avoid massive wind storms that arise quickly.  I'll be happy to see him back on land in about 5-6 hours!  To Nome!   Jessman Smith

Iditarod Iowan Fans, Wednesday, March 14 (7:45AM):

Matt left Unalakleet at 1:12 a.m. Alaska time and is heading to Shaktoolik. There is some elevation change, but the main obstacle is the wind, which blows ferociously even in good weather. On bad days, the wind will reach hurricane force winds and plunge the temperatures with wind chill factor into -100 degrees below F. It is a short 42 mile run, taking most mushers around 6 to 6 1/2 hours. With Matt having left at 1:12 a.m. Alaska time, we can expect his arrival into Shaktoolik around 7:30 a.m. Alaska time (10:30 Iowa time and 9:30 Pinedale).
It was a great run the 2007 Iditarod Champion Lance Mackey, becoming the 3rd Mackey to win "The Last Great Race on Earth".  Finishers will continue finishing strong over the next couple of days. Let's keep rooting for Matt!

To Nome!   Jessman Smith


Tuesday, March 13: Race Day 11: Left Kaltag, headed for Unalakleet. Matt arrived in Kaltag a little before 10 pm Monday night and left again for Unalakleet at 4:44 AM Tuesday morning with 10 dogs. Matt is less than 269 miles from the finish line at Nome! The race leaders have left White Mountain and are less than 75 miles from Nome and should arrive today.

Race Day 11
Kaltag to Unalakleet.
Kaltag to Unalakleet

Next Checkpoint: Unalakleet, Distance 90 miles. This stretch heads through the coastal mountains along a well-used snowmachine highway. The leg takes about 10 to 15 hours under good weather conditions, 18-20 hours under foul weather. Unalakleet is the biggest town between Wasilla and Nome, with about 800 people. Description of route (click on checkpoints to bring up a window describing this section of the race route)

Matt Update from Alaska:

Iditarod Iowan Fans March 13 (Noon):

Lance Mackey is less than 77 miles from Nome. He placed 36th as a rookie 6 years ago!
Matt left Kaltag around 4:30 a.m. Alaska time. The trip to Unalakleet takes most mushers between 14-18 hours. This is his first departure from the Yukon River since Anvik. The Yukon River, although flat, is known for its fierce winds. Dogs, very often, do not like to run in this wind, although Matt's dogs in Pinedale, Wyoming, endure winds of the same intensity. He is in the midst of the trip to Unalakleet, his last 90 mile trip between checkpoints.  This portion of the race will be extremely windy as well. Unalakleet, however, is the make-you-or-break-checkpoint. This is the last location where mushers usually scratch, for fear of facing the winds and the vastness of the Gold Coast Run.
Matt's been resting the dogs well. I'd like to know how they've been eating. Iditarod Veterans say that is the difference between a dog in Nome and a dog sent to Anchorage.
Still working on getting pictures online and maybe t-shirts.  To Nome!   Jessman Smith


Sunday, March 11: Race Day 9: Left Grayling. Matt arrived in Grayling around 7:43 am Sunday morning and left again a little before 2 PM with 10 dogs on his way to Eagle Island, 60 miles away. The race leaders are around 100 miles ahead of Matt out of Unalakleet.
Next Checkpoint: Eagle Island, Distance 60 miles.
This stretch is all on the frozen Yukon River, following it upstream. When the wind is blowing, temperatures can plummet to 40 degrees below zero. It takes racers between 6-9 hours to do this leg. Description of route (click on checkpoints to bring up a window describing this section of the race route)


Race Day 8
Iditarod to Shaguluk.
Iditarod to Shaguluk

Saturday, March 10: Race Day 8: In Shaguluk. Matt left Iditarod at 4:40 AM Saturday morning and arrived in Shageluk at 14:46:00 (2:46 PM), a 10-hour and 6-minute jaunt. As of the time of this report, he remains in 35th position. There are now 63 racers instead of 66 racers. 19 racers have scratched from the race. The leader, Jeff King, is past Eagle Island, three checkpoints ahead of Matt, a little over 100 miles further up the trail.
Next Checkpoint: Anvik, Distance 25 miles.
This 25 mile stretch is across low, mostly open country. Ultimately it dropps into the heavily timbered Yukon River bottomlands before crossing the river itself into the small community of Anvik. This stretch should take from 2-3 hours. Description of route (click on checkpoints to bring up a window describing this section of the race route)

Matt Update from Alaska:

Iditarod Iowan Fans March 10 (6:55 PM):

Most of you were probably wondering why Matt hadn't left Iditarod yet today, after arriving last night around 10 p.m. Alaska time.  Your guess was as good as ours. Turns out, Matt probably left Iditarod around 4 a.m. and the checkers missed him on the way out, and failed to post his leaving time out of Iditarod. It wasn't until Matt showed up at Shaguluk 65 miles down the road around 3 p.m. Alaska time that we figured where he really was.   At last check online he was still in Shaguluk.  He's getting toward the Yukon River were he was planning on making a big push. Judging by his rest/run times, I'm guessing that the dogs are well rested and ready to go.
Catch some video of Matt in Anchorage at the ceremonial start and video of Matt and myself at the McGrath checkpoint at the following site:   To Nome!   Jessman Smith


Friday, March 9: Race Day 7: OUT OF OPHIR HEADED TO IDITAROD, RACE HALF-WAY POINT. Matt left Takotna at little after 8:30 PM on Thursday evening. The trip from Takotna to Ophir took him a little under 3 hours, arriving at around 11:30 PM Thursday night. He headed out of Ophir at 2:41 AM (this morning), going down from 14 to 12 dogs, with his next stop being Iditarod, the approximate half-way point of the race (90 miles away). As of the time of this report, he is in 35th position out of 66 racers. 16 racers have now scratched from the race. The leader, Martin Buser, is two checkpoints ahead of Matt, about 155 miles further up the trail out of Shageluk.
Next Checkpoint: Iditarod, Distance 90 miles. This 90-mile leg should take from 12-18 hours. According to the trail description on the Iditarod website: "This is one of the emptiest legs on the entire race, a full 90 miles of lonely country and endless trail. The trail crosses a mix of terrain and vegetation, ranging from taiga (black spruce) to barren upland tundra to thick river-bottom forests to brushy ravines and hillsides to swamps and lakes. This leg has no major problems, although are always patches of minor overflow, plenty of hills, and some potentially rough trail across the uplands. Its biggest feature is, as somebody once said of driving through Texas, miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles." Description of route (click on checkpoints to bring up a window describing this section of the race route)

Matt Update from Alaska:

Iditarod Iowan Fans March 9 (5:20 PM):

Matt and his "Dirty Dozen" are currently on their way to Iditarod. We're hoping he rolls in this afternoon or evening. Although the race has been grueling on Matt, his dogs, and ourselves (the fans), the race is only half done and is really starting to heat up. Its difficult to know what's going on with Matt during this 90 mile stretch, so keep your fingers crossed. Meanwhile, I've been sent a picture of Matt's team at the ceremonial start in Anchorage from last Saturday (Yes, that's me riding Matt's second sled behind him). Check it out:,2933,256481,00.html

- To Nome!  Jessman Smith
Matt Anderson's Support Team


Race Day 6
McGrath to Takotna, then 24-hour mandatory layover.
Takotna to McGrath

Thursday, March 8: Race Day 6: IN TAKOTNA. Matt arrived in Takotna at little after 8 PM on Wednesday with 14 dogs. The trip from McGrath took him 3 hours and 37 minutes with an average speed of 4.98 miles per hour. His next stop is Ophir, 25 miles away. He is now in 31st position. He's doing GREAT for a rookie! The leaders are about 115 miles ahead of him at Iditarod, arriving there just after midnight this morning. This next checkpoint is where the course splits south, alternating north/south routes every year. The route goes 328 miles and 6 checkpoints before reuniting with the northern route at Kaltag.
Next Checkpoint: Ophir, Distance 25-35 miles (conflicting mileage shown on the Iditarod website for this stretch). This is normally a fast 2-3 hour run on a well-traveled snowmachine trail, so he should make it by this evening after this report is posted. The route travels along the Takotna River, then up along a ridge, then back down the frozen Takotna River. Teams will go through swamps, muskeg, forest and over a river to the town of Takotna, population approximately 75. Many mushers plan their mandatory 24-hour layover at this next stop. Description of route (click on checkpoints to bring up a window describing this section of the race route)

Matt Update from Alaska:

Iditarod Iowan Fans March 8:

As some of you may have guessed, Matt is taking his mandatory 24-hour rest in Tokatna. He actually had a few minutes in between fixin' dogs and eating to call his dad, Doug, here in Willow, Alaska. Matt says he's getting ready for a big push, so keep your eyes on the screen (as much as you can without getting fired, but seriously, it’s just a job). He is going to be dropping two more dogs. He said "he'd rather drop 'em than drag 'em!" 

Matt will be leaving Tokatna at 8:00 pm Alaska time (11 pm Iowa time and 10 pm Wyoming time) and is really excited about the dogs that remain strong and focused.

There are a couple of big runs ahead with Matt heading to Ophir (24 miles), but then heading into a big 90-mile run to Iditarod and another 65 miles to Shageluk.  Big runs on fresh legs. Matt's dogs aren't sprinters, they're grinders - this is the part of the trail best suits them. Up to this point, the race has been an obstacle course. From here until the last checkpoint, it’s an endurance match.

Tyrant, who was dropped by the veterinarians, was taken to the vet here in Anchorage for "possible pneumonia".  Matt's livid assertions about Tyrant were right, he was ‘GOOD TO GO!’ as the x-rays revealed absolutely nothing wrong with Tyrant or his lungs! (We got hosed.)

I got news from an Iditarod veteran, Iowa Hawkeye and Iditarod Iowan fan, who lives in Nome , that the temperature in Nome is -25 degrees F (pretty reasonable), but that winds were gusting between 90 -104 mph. Anything that isn't tied down is getting blown away. Storms are supposedly heading into the North part of the trail, and things are about to get really interesting. 

If you are going to send me an e-mail, it better end: To Nome! (  

- To Nome!  Jessman Smith
Matt Anderson's Support Team


Wednesday, March 7: Race Day 5: OUT OF MCGRATH. Matt left Rohn and made it to Nikolai at a little before 10 AM this morning. From there he continued on the 54-mile leg to McGrath. He arrived in McGrath around 4:30 in the afternoon, on the trail for 6-½ hours. He left McGrath and is on his way to Takotna. He checked into McGrath with 14 dogs. The fastest racers are approximately 25 miles further up the trail just out of Ophir, one checkpoint ahead of Matt's next checkpoint, Takotna. Matt has gone up from 33rd to 29th position (as of the time of this report). Fourteen teams have dropped out of the race so far, most before attempting treacherous Rainy Pass, which Matt scraped through yesterday. So far, Matt has traveled 401 miles and has 730 miles to go.

Race Day 5
Nikolai to Takotna
Nikolai to Takotna

Next Checkpoint: Takotna, Distance 18 miles. This is normally a fast 2-3 hour run on a well-traveled snowmachine trail, so he should make it by this evening after this report is posted. The route travels along the Takotna River, then up along a ridge, then back down the frozen Takotna River. Teams will go through swamps, muskeg, forest and over a river to the town of Takotna, population approximately 75. Many mushers plan their mandatory 24-hour layover at this next stop. Description of route (click on checkpoints to bring up a window describing this section of the race route)

Matt Update from Alaska:

Iditarod Iowan Fans March 7:

I just got off the trail with Matt and Wow!, did he have some stories. He's been lost, wrecked, tangled, slid down glaciers (off of his sled) and fallen through an ice bridge and into the river. He's banged up his sled, himself, and a couple of dogs. As Martin Buser put it, "The Class of 2007, whoever makes it, deserves a gold star, I'd hate to be a rookie on this run"  Matt was the last one out of Rainy Pass, where race officials closed the race. He was told that he shouldn't go, rather than he couldn't; and course he did. He sludged through the storm, losing and regaining the trail  for a grueling 33 miles in 9 hours. His team was badly tangled on the same tree that forced Doug Swingly to scratch. He lost the trail twice, only to later regain it. Two dogs have been dropped, namely: Argus (a dog out of Jason Barron's kennel for a sore wrist) and Tyrant (another Barron dog forced to drop by a vet, for possible pneumonia). The rest of the dogs are well, and Salmon was in the sled bag as Matt left McGrath, being rested up with! Lonely and Abel in the lead. Despite all this, Matt is only half a day behind schedule and I don't think he's ever been happier. (One of dog handler's for another team stated that "if mushers aren't hurt, hungry, tired, lost, sore, and cold; he's not happy").

I told Matt of all the e-mails you guys sent in the 10 minutes I saw him before he blew past the McGrath checkpoint. He told me he was going to Takotna for a good rest tonight.  An Iditarod-veteran turned race official thought that many of teams in front of Matt had pushed too hard too soon, and were going to start slowing down. Meanwhile, Matt's already worked out a good plan out to get him back into the race (watch him after his 24 hour break).   To Nome!  Jessman Smith Matt Anderson's Support Team


Tuesday, March 6: Race Day 4: Matt made it through trecherous Rainy Pass and made it to Rohn at 5:33 this morning with all 16 dogs, a distance of 48 greuling miles. Time enroute was: 7 hours 33 mins. Position has dropped one from 32nd to 33rd place. Total distance now traveled is 272 miles.  He left Rohn for Nikolai at a little after 1 PM today with only 15 dogs (we don't know what happend to his 16th dog, but several mushers were injured going over the stretch and scratched from the race.) Matt and his team of 16-dogs have traveled 272 miles since they left Anchorage on Saturday.

Race Day 4
Rainy Pass to Rohn to Nikolai
Rainy Pass to Rohn to Nikolai

Next Checkpoint: Nikolai, Distance 75 miles from Rainy Pass It is expected to take from 10-15 hours for this leg of the race. According to the description on the Iditarod website, the first 20 miles out of Rohn has some of the consistently worst trail on the whole race. Teams will be going over river stretches with overflow and shallow open water, with strong winds of up to 40 miles per hour bearing down on them. They will travel from the river bottom up into forest and through more valleys, crossing rivers with slippery ice and places with open water. Along this leg, mushers may see a herd of wild bison grazing in the marshes and lakes in the woods. They will also be able to see Mt. McKinley far to the northeast in the Alaska Range. It’s easy to get lost in this stretch, and the mushers are advised to go through it in groups, preferably with someone who has been through it before leading the group. The teams will be traveling through a 40-mile stretch that goes through the site of Alaska’s largest forest fire, the Farewell Burn from the summer of 1978, which burned more than a million and a half acres. The latter part of this leg is normally flat and somewhat fast, taking them through woods and occasional cuts across open swamps, sloughs and lakes until they get to the town of Nikolai, where they can bed down the team and grab some food and rest before the next leg. There are 10 racers who are now out of the race, including Doug Swingley and Jacques Philip (these 2 have been in Pinedale and raced in the IPSSSDR sled dog race.) Description of route (click on checkpoints to bring up a window describing this section of the race route)

Matt Update from Alaska:

Hallo from McGrath!
Matt safely navigated the extremely treacherous terrain of "The Steps" that also claimed Iditarod great Deedee Janroe. He's checked into Rhone and is currently running "The Burn".  I flew over it early today and it is just that - 120 miles of burned trees and frozen swamp. The snow is low on this part of the trail this year, so Matt took running shoes to run and minimize the amount that the dogs would have to drag his weight over dirt. He's still running about 33rd.
While in McGrath, 4-Time Champ Martin Buser and Lance Mackey checked in, with Mackey blowing through the checkpoint. I heard Buser tell the Versus channel that The Burn is the worst its been since he's been racing. The moguls and frost-heaves along with dry dirt have made this route incredibly rough-riding and hard on the dogs' joints.
I'm hoping on seeing Matt in McGrath in either morning or early afternoon, and maybe have a quick laugh before I send him on his way.  The temp is running between -20 to -30 degrees below F and good for running dogs (and pretty easy to get used to for people I might add).  Keep the e-mails coming and I'll pass them on as best I can ( but be sure to CC Matt in on them too).

To Nome!  Jessman Smith


Monday, March 5: Race Day 3: Matt checked out of Skwentna at 05:12:00 and arrived at Finger Lake at 11:32:00 with 16 dogs, a distance of 45 miles. Time enroute: 6 hours 20 mins. Position has increased from 54th Place to 32nd (out of 82 racers). Average speed: 7.11 mph. Weather is clear skies. Night-time temperatures are dipping down to -5 degrees. Total distance now traveled is 194 miles. 937 more to go! The standings listings show that Doug Swingley scratched from the race at Rainy Pass. (Matt

Race Day 3
Willow to Yentna and on to Skwentna.
Skwentna to Finger Lake to Rainy Pass

got his first sled dogs from Doug in 2003.) According to an Iditarod news release: "Doug Swingley, (Bib #28) made the decision to scratch at 12:36 this afternoon (March 05, 2007) at Rainey Pass Checkpoint on Puntilla Lake in the Alaska Range.  The four time Iditarod Champion from Lincoln, Montana, scratched due to injuries he incurred between Finger Lake and Rainey Pass.  According to officials at the checkpoint Swingley may have suffered broken ribs.  They said he also dislocated one of his thumbs.  After careful consideration, Swingley said his greatest concern was whether he would be physically able to care for his team for the duration of the race." Swingley is the first team to scratch from the race.
Next Checkpoint: Rainy Pass, Distance 30 miles from Finger Lake This is described as a "tough run with some short stretches of extraordinarily difficult trail". It will take from 3-5 hours to do this stretch. Ravines, forest, open swamps, beaver ponds and dams, signs that say "Watch your Ass!" and "Dangerous Trail Conditions Ahead", the trail will vanish over what looks like a cliff - it is a cliff, and two nasty stretches of sidehill trail in the last 8 miles. Description of route (click on checkpoints to bring up a window describing this section of the race route)

Matt Update from Alaska:

Hallo, eh - from the Iditarod Trail: 
During Day 2 of the "Last Great Race on Earth"  the Iditarod, Matt has made a steady push from the back of the pack. He started in position #67 yesterday at the official restart on Willow Lake. He had climbed up to #32 before resting before the most dangerous part of the trial, "The Steps" between Finger Lake and Rainy Pass. The elevation drops 1,400 feet in 1/2 mile with turns, steep drops and tree stumps and injures dogs, mushers, and breaks sleds. This portion of the trail forced 4-time Iditarod Champion Doug Sweenley out of the race today. Matt is running on schedule, and I hope to get out to see him in McGrath. Matt's plan is extremely patient and will spring when the opportunity presents itself. He still has all 16 of his dogs while many of those currently ahead of him are down to 15 or 14. Up to the minute results can be found at:

I'm checking e-mail occasionally and have been getting updates from the web, like you. Keep rooting for Matt! Thanks for the support and the fundraiser in Shenandoah was a HUGE success, as over 300 people turned out to eat, auction, and cheer for Matt. Thanks to all the supporters, fans, friends and family!    To Nome! Jessman Smith Matt Anderson's Support Team


Race Day 2
Willow to Yentna and on to Skwentna.
Willow to Yentna to Skwentna

Sunday, March 4: Race Day 2: Matt checked out of Willow at 16:10:00 and into Yentna at 19:57:00. 16 dogs. Time enroute: 3 hours 47 mins. Position: 54th Place (out of 82 racers). From Yentna Station, teams head to Skwentna. From Yentna Station to Skwentna is all on the Yentna River, with the last few miles up the Skwentna River to the checkpoint. The river stays between well-defined banks for about five miles upstream from Yentna Station, and also for the last 15 miles into Skwentna. In the middle 15 miles it branches out into a maze of channels and sloughs, any of which can have a trail for local traffic. This is normally a fast run with no hills, provided the trail is in good shape; most teams make the leg in three to four and a half hours." - by Donald Bowers, Jr. At Skwentna there will be time for a bit of a rest, food and vet check for the dogs. Description of route (click on checkpoints to bring up a window describing this section of the race route)

Saturday, March 3: Race Day 1: Matt checked into Check Point #2, Campbell Airstrip (BLM), at 13:36:00, with all 12 dogs.
Next Checkpoint: #3 Willow, Distance 70 miles for the race restart on Sunday, March 4, at 2:00 PM, Population: 1,700, Willow, Alaska, is northwest of Wasilla in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, a 90-minute drive from Anchorage. It is located around Mile 60 of the George Parks Highway, north of Houston. The town was chosen in the 1970s to be the new site of the state capital, but the plans fell through. Description of route (click on checkpoints to bring up a window describing this section of the race route)istance 11 miles. Time enroute 1 hour 11 minutes (the fastest racer did this leg in 52 minutes). Average speed for Matt was 9.30 miles per hour. His position is 69th (of 82 teams starting)
Next Checkpoint: #3 Willow, Distance 70 miles for the race restart on Sunday, March 4, at 2:00 PM , Population: 1,700, Willow, Alaska, is northwest of Wasilla in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, a 90-minute drive from Anchorage. It is located around Mile 60 of the George Parks Highway, north of Houston. The town was chosen in the 1970s to be the new site of the state capital, but the plans fell through. Description of route (click on checkpoints to bring up a window describing this section of the race route)


Race Day 1
Matt leaves Anchorage on the Ceremonial Start, passes Campbell Airstrip (BLM) Checkpoint, 11 miles, after 1 hour 11 minutes. Moves on to Check Point Willow, a distance of 70 miles for the race restart.
Anchorage Race Start

Saturday, March 3: RACE START: Matt leaves Anchorage with 12-dog team. Matt is one of 82 mushers on the 1,150-mile race. His time out was 12:25:00. Anchorage has a population of 254,849, making it Alaska’s largest city with a full range of transportation and hotel accommodations. The race starts downtown on Fourth Avenue. The Ceremonial Start is a hold over from the early days of Iditarod when mushers actually departed Anchorage for Nome.  Presently, because of new roads, trails, and human development, racing through from Anchorage is impossible.  The Solution?  Preserve a tradition and stage a 11-mile Ceremonial run through downtown Anchorage for the fans, and then reassemble for the real start in Willow, Alaska on Sunday. The Ceremonial start is not timed, and other than the fact that an appearance is mandatory, Saturday is a day for the mushers to mix with crowds of fans and give a select group of Iditariders a mushing experience. A memorial was staged for Susan Butcher, Alaska’s most famous athlete and public figure and four-time Iditarod winner, who passed away at age 51 from acute myelogenous leukemia (a malignant disease of the blood and bone marrow), on August 5th in Seattle, Washington. Matt got his picture on the front page of leaving Anchorage at the ceremonial start
Next Checkpoint: #2 Campbell Airstrip (BLM), Distance 11 miles: BLM and other agencies would use Campbell Airstrip to support fire operations in southern Alaska or to help suppress any wild fire in the Anchorage "Hillside". Campbell Airstrip is available for emergency use by private or commercial aircraft. Campbell Airstrip has been used on the average for one aircraft emergency per year. Description of route (click on checkpoints to bring up a window describing this section of the race route)



  • The race starts in downtown Anchorage, Alaska, on the first Saturday in March. It restarts in Wasilla, Alaska, the next day, Sunday. Routes alternate every year and have 26 check points. By race end, teams will have crossed two mountain ranges, run along the Yukon River and across frozen Norton Sound. The first mushers will arive in Nome in 9-12 days. The last up to a week later.
  • The first Iditarod Race began on March 3, 1973 with 34 teams and 22 teams finished 32 days later.
  • Most Iditarod finishes: Rick Swenson, 29; Martin Buser & DeeDee Jonrowe, 23; Rick Mackey, 20, Tim Osmar, 21; John Barron, 19 and Jerry Austin, Terry Adkins, Bill Cotter & Vern Halter, 18.
  • Rick Swenson is the only five-time Iditarod winner, the only musher to win in three decades and the only musher to complete 29 of 34 Iditarods.
  • Susan Butcher, Martin Buser, Doug Swingley and Jeff King are four time champions and Butcher and Swingley are the only two to have won three consecutive races.
  • During the race, temperatures can fall far below zero, winds can cause complete lack of visibility, and there are long hours of sledding in darkness.
  • Teams are not directed with reins, but through spoken orders. The leader of the team must understand all that is said and guide the others accordingly. An intelligent leader is an absolute necessity. Musher commands: "Gee" = Right Turn; "Haw" = Left Turn; "Come Gee! Come Haw" = Commands for 180 degree turns in either direction; "Line Out!" = Commands the lead dog to pull the team out straight from the sled - used mostly when hooking/unhooking teams from sled; "Mush! Hike! All Right! Let's Go!" = Commands to start the team; "Whoa!" = Command to stop the team, accompanied with heavy pressure on the brake.

• Began as a mail and supply route from the coastal towns of Seward and Knik to the interior mining camps at Flat, Ophir, Ruby and

• Mail and supplies went in. Gold came out -- all via dog sled.

• After gold mining began to slack off, people went back to from where they had come and the trail was used less.

• The airplane (coming in the 1920’s) signaled the beginning of the end of dog team travel in interior Alaska.

• In 1925, part of the trail became a life saving highway as diphtheria threatened Nome and life-saving serum was taken by dog teams in relays from Nenana to Nome.

• The late Dorothy G Page and the late Joe Redington, Sr. organized a race of about 25 miles in 1967 to commemorate the early use of the trail and the dog teams. That race was part of Alaska’s Centennial celebration that year.

• After a second short race in 1969, the first “long” Iditarod (from Anchorage to Nome) ran in 1973, the first of what has been 31 races along this trail.

• Congress declared the Iditarod Trail a National Historic Trail in 1978.

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