STORY UPDATED AT 9:30 p.m. 2/19/13:
The top teams have reached Nome, the halfway point in the Iron Dog race, and it’s proving to be a tight race by the seconds.
A mere 23 seconds separates first from second, but being the front runner can feel like a technicality.
“It’s nice to be in front but, were so close together that we are basically the same,” Eric Quam, of Team 23, said. Quam and his partner Brian Dick checked in first at 4:22 p.m. followed by last year’s champs.
“We’re just cruising, this is only the halfway mark, it doesn't mean much right now until we get out of here,” Marc McKenna, of Team 17, said. “We still got 900 miles to go, we're only halfway done, funs just beginning.”
Top 5 Into Nome
1-Quam/Dick, Team 23: 4:22 p.m.
2-McKenna/Van Meter, Team 17: 4:22 p.m.
3-George/Bartel, Team 25: 4:33 p.m.
4-Davis/Palin, Team 11: 4:54 p.m.
5-Aklestad/Johnson, Team 8: 5:06 p.m.
A total of eight teams checked into Nome just before 9 p.m. Tuesday and gets 36-hours of rest.
28 teams remain on the trails with rookie team 27 of George Lambert and Norman Sheldon rounding out the bottom of the field, leaving Kaltag en route to Kaltag.
Editor's Note: KTUU's Kari Bustamante contributed to the 9:30 p.m. update with a report from Nome.
STORY UPDATED AT 1:56 p.m. 2/19/13:
The current Iron Dog leaderboard just before 2 p.m. Tuesday:
1-Eric Quam & Brian Dick, Team 23
2-McKenna/Van Meter, Team 17
3-Aklestad/Johnson, Team 8
4-Davis/Palin, Team 11
5-George/Bartel, Team 25
The order standings adjusted to reflect trail times, since some teams have yet to declare their 8-hour layover.
STORY UPDATED AT 12:23 p.m. 2/19/13:
Much of the Iron Dog's leading pack had reached Unalakleet Tuesday morning, with the first racers making a dash for the halfway point at Nome.
As of noon Tuesday, race standings had Team 21 of Stan Brown and John Dean in the lead reaching Koyuk just before 11:30 a.m. and approaching White Mountain. Only three minutes behind the leaders were Team 40 of Aaron Marks and Arnold Marks Jr.
The third and fourth spot left Shaktoolik before noon and were approaching Koyuk, which were held by rookies of Team 30 of Geoff Couse and Jerrod Vaughn and Team 12 of Robert Strick and Steffen Strick, Jr.
The top five rounds out with Team 23 of Brian Dick and Eric Quam on the trail to Shaktoolik.
The latest teams to drop from the race were Team 14 of veteran Harold Attla and rookie Ashley Wallace due to injury and rookie Team 13 of James Croy and Jason Moore due to illness, both teams scratched in McGrath.
31 teams remain on the race standings, and several teams were listed as working on their sleds.
For more Iron Dog coverage, including video and photo galleries, check out KTUU’s special Iron Dog web page.
Contact Chris Klint and Neil Torquiano