Of the 36 mushers successfully finishing the race...
28 were veterans and 8 were rookies.
10 of the initial 13 women finished, including 2 rookies.
26 of the initial 33 men finished, including 6 rookies.
The 10 mushers having been withdrawn or scratching from the race amounts to 21.7% of the field, right in line with the average scratch rate of 21.8% since the race's inception according to my own tally (using information from Iditarod.com's archives). And while I know this year's trail and the extreme cold were challenging, that scratch rate is far below the 40.4% scratch rate from 2020's brutal race.
Ultimately, it is an amazing accomplishment to not only qualify for entry into Iditarod but to complete it. Anna has now finished the Iditarod 9 times. Kristy has finished it 11 times. By my tally, there have been 2,448 finishers in Iditarod during its 49 year history. But that figure includes a whole host of repeat-finishers like Kristy and Anna. To count the number of separate individuals to accomplish this feat, you have to count each year's rookies. With 8 rookies finishing in 2021, again by my own tally, I see that as only 818 separate individuals in history that can say, "Yep, I finished the Iditarod."
By comparison, according to this Reuters article from August 2020, more than 6,000 climbers have scaled Mount Everest since 1953. A bit more recent figure from High Adventure Expeditions has 5,788 different people as of January 2021 having successfully climbed Everest to reach the summit.
818 vs 5,788... If that comparison doesn't successfully highlight how tough the Iditarod is, how laudable it is to have completed it, I don't know that I'll ever come up with one that does.
I am also very pleased to report that all of the 644 world-class athletes that really make this possible - the dogs! - returned home from the trail safe and sound. Yes, of course some of them had to catch a ride home with the Iditarod Air Force along the way, but that is part and parcel of Iditarod. The key from my perspective is they're all home, getting love and snacks and telling their kennel mates about the amazing sites and smells of the Iditarod Trail.
If you watched the video on Iditarod Insider of the twins coming into Deshka, you would have heard Anna rattle off the names of the dogs with her at the finish. I haven't been able to talk to extensively to the twins yet (can't blame them for putting food, a hot shower, and sleep over another interview!), but I did get confirmation of who on their teams were at the finish...
Kristy arrived at Deshka with 9 dogs on the line. Seven of those nine are Seeing Double Dogs, and two of the nine were Iditarod rookies. They included: Mayhem, Crocket, Bulliet, Berzerker, Ruckus, Bogus, Bootleg, Chaos, and Barge. The dogs that returned home a bit early ~ Amp, Rampage, Havoc, Rebel, and Polar ~ are all doing great.
Anna also arrived at the finish with 9 dogs on the line. Six of the nine are Seeing Double Dogs, and four of the nine were rookies. And three of those rookies were on loan from other mushers. It's one of the key reasons other mushers are glad to arrange loaned dogs with the twins - the care they get is top notch and the racing experience priceless. Anna's finishing team included: Drax, Rizo, Yondu, Loki, Diego, Forrest, Secret, Astro, and Rider. The dogs returning home early ~ Aspen, Bandit, Birdie, Randy, and Dane ~ are also well and relaxin' at the kennel.
And with that, folks, it's time to call Iditarod 2021 a wrap! Thank you, as always, to those armchair mushers that came on this journey with me, and everyone that makes the Iditarod possible. Thank you to everyone that has sponsored or donated to the twins and their dogs, cheered them on, written a letter, liked an Instagram post, or bought some merch. You are all part of the force that gets Seeing Double down the trail year after year.
And thank you, most of all, to the dogs. You all inevitably put us two-leggeds to shame.
Be safe, be well, and be sure to come back and join us for the 50th Iditarod in March 2022!
Peace, Love, and Paw Prints...
Your Mad Blogger