Iditarod.com posted the same official statement from both of the twins, differing only in numbers of dogs and bib. Namely ~ Berington made the decision to scratch due to a death in the family and for the good of her race team.
I have spoken to the twins and can share a bit more information, but I do not want to overstep boundaries I can barely begin to fathom.
To the first point about a death in the family - it wasn't COVID-19! So for Saint Peter's sake do not let anyone start that rumor. Our beloved grandfather, Hubert Berington, who turned 99 (!!!) in late November of last year, finally had the sands in his hourglass run out. Sharp until the end and with only very recent, serious failing health, I can say on behalf of my family that we were honored to have him with us for as long as we did, we are glad the end was peaceful, and he will be greatly, greatly missed.
With respect to the well being of the twins and their dogs ~ everyone is ok. Neither Anna, Kristy, nor any of their dogs are facing any serious injury or health issue. So, why then did they scratch? I think I can best sum it up as an honest assessment of risk and reward. They each looked at the dogs still traveling with them down the trail; the experience level of those dogs, especially their remaining leaders; the 261 miles of trail in front of them, pretty much exclusively along the coast; and the checkpoint changes and limitations, especially in Shaktoolik. All with another severe storm front approaching. Those were the key variables in the decision to press to Nome, or head home.
To be clear, no one is finding fault with the changes that had to be made with checkpoints this year, I'm just saying the changes are something the twins had to take into account. It's 40 miles from Una to Shak and another 50 from Shak to Koyuk. I understand they were able to get one vet out to Shak, as well as drop bags and straw, but that's pretty much it. So if, just if, something happened over that many miles of ice and snow, with a storm coming...? Versus pressing on, getting to Nome, but in no position to defend your prior year's top 20 finish...?
This isn't giving up. This isn't giving in. This is choosing to say, "Ya know? It's not my year. I'm going to make a very tough decision, but one that presents the least risk to my dogs. I'm going to learn from this, and come back to mush another day."
Seeing Double knows their family, friends, fans and sponsors respect their decision.
Thank you, everyone, for your support.