Right now Aliy is two miles behind Mitch Seavey with eight miles to go until Safety then another 22 miles after that to Nome. Jeff King is 13 miles behind Aliy... It's still anyone's race and we won't be calling this until someone crosses the line.
You may have read the Anchorage Daily News article about Aliy and the team howling at the checkpoint as they were waiting to leave; this gives me chills just thinking about it and I hope to goodness someone caught that on video! All reports are that the team looked great going out and she was positive and upbeat and the Insider video showing them leave confirms that! Bill Roth from ADN took this photo at the checkpoint this afternoon.
You can see she left with Quito still in single lead, Nacho and Scout, Willie running solo, Scruggs and Beemer, Mac and Olivia with Biscuit and Chica in wheel. They are all dressed for the wind in their Horizon Lines wind jackets in anticipation of "the blowhole".
The Alaska Dispatch headline is "Forget Seavey vs Zirkle: Iditarod comes down to Quito vs Tanner, lead dogs supreme". Go Quito! Although Aliy and the other 15 team members have had quite a lot to do with it too!
Click on picture to link to article
The team in Nome are heading down to the finish line to organise the dog yard and snacks for the team then very nervously await their arrival onto Front Street. I will be handing the "blog-baton" over to Macgellan from here for a bit as we will be tending to dogs and Aliy for a while and won't be able to get back to update you.
For now let me just say that whatever happens this evening we are all so incredibly proud of her and her entire team of Quito, Scout, Beemer, Olivia, Rambler, Dingle, Scruggs, Chica, Boondocks, Nacho, Puppet, Mac, Waylon, Willie, Biscuit and Tug. All of them have worked hard all season for this moment, whatever position they finish in! I'm sure you will join us in being unashamedly proud of the SP Kennel Red Team right now!
Macgellan, it's over to you!