Sport Norwegian wins Iditarod dog-sled race, crowds kept away by virus precautions

15:35  18 march  2020
15:35  18 march  2020 Source:   reuters.com

Virus worries prompt some post-race changes for the Iditarod

  Virus worries prompt some post-race changes for the Iditarod ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Officials with the world’s most famous sled dog race announced Thursday they have postponed post-race events in Nome in response to the new coronavirus. The Iditarod has postponed both the awards banquet set for March 22 and the meet the mushers event set for March 21, both in Nome, where the winner is expected some time next week. The finish line is near the Nome mini-convention center, which serves as a community gathering point for mushers, their families, race fans and volunteers that descend on the city.“They will still be using the mini-convention center as their headquarters.

A Norwegian musher won the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race early on Wednesday, notching the third victory ever for his home country in the 46-year Countryman Robert Sorlie won twice before - in 2003 and again in 2005. Ulsom was greeted by Nome’s mayor and crowds of fans who lined Nome’s

Moreover, the Iditarod has pared down its staff to essential personnel limited to veterinarians, logistics Iditarod moves its official checkpoint to outside the community of Shaktoolik. The Iditarod continues to utilize best practices and caution regarding COVID-19.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - Norwegian musher Thomas Waerner won the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race early on Wednesday, capturing victory in only his second attempt at the famous long-distance race across Alaska.

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1. dog SLED arriving at checkpoint. 2. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CURRENT RACE LEADER THOMAS WÆRNER SAYING STORY: Norway 's Thomas Wærner took the lead on the eighth day of the Iditarod Trail Sleddog Race on Saturday (March 14) as the course took the competitors 280

Eight dogs in harness, out of 16 starters, brought Leifseth Ulsom down the snow covered Front Street after 9 days, 12 hours on the trail of what is dubbed By early Wednesday, Seavey was nearing the finish in third place. Joar Leifseth Ulsom is all smiles at the finish of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race .

Waerner and his tail-wagging dogs reached the finish line in downtown Nome just after midnight, completing the 1,000-mile race in nine days, 10 hours and 37:47 minutes.

"It has always been a dream to come here and do the race," said Waerner, who became fascinated by the Iditarod as an 11-year-old reading about mushing legends like Susan Butcher and Rick Swenson. "It’s amazing, I feel kind of speechless."

A pared-down team of race officials and a small cluster of cheering fans, one waving a large Norwegian flag, greeted Waerner. The usual huge and raucous Nome finish-line crowd was absent, curtailed by the global coronavirus pandemic.

To reduce chances of contagion, the city of Nome canceled all its Iditarod-related events and discouraged visitors from out of town – a marked change from past years, when the town is packed with Iditarod revelers from around the world.

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A Norwegian musher is maintaining his lead in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race . “I feel I just will continue what I’m doing, and that’s driving the team, looking at them and keeping my eye on Similar precautions were made in the village of Nulato, where the checkpoint was moved from the village to

Dog sleds delivered the mail, the preacher, the groceries, and hauled out gold and furs all the way to Anchorage or Fairbanks. During the early years of the Iditarod Race , the mushers only traveled the northern trail. After several years, the Iditarod Board of Directors realized that the smaller villages

There was "social distancing" along the trail, too. Some of the Native villages that serve as race checkpoints moved those sites out of town, and officials barred spectator crowds at those places on the trail where mushers and their dogs take breaks.

With those adaptations, the Iditarod was able to continue, unlike other major sports events many of which have been canceled.

Waerner and his dogs were able to push though deep snow which slowed their closest competitors. He snatched the lead over the weekend from Jessie Royer, who was vying to become the first woman to win the Iditarod since 1990, and other top contenders.

The 47-year-old musher from Synnfjell, a mountainous town near Lillehammer, ran his first Iditarod in 2015. He finished in 17th place, the top spot that year for a rookie. While he is relatively new to the Iditarod, Waerner is an accomplished musher on the European circuit. Last year he won the 1,200-kilometer (745-mile) Finnmarksløpet, Europe’s longest dog-sled race.

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Joar Ulsom of Norway poses with his dogs after winning the Iditarod sled dog race in Nome, Alaska, Wednesday, March 14, 2018. His supporters crowded the finish line, one waving Norway ’s flag. Ulsom’s victory generated heavy media attention in Norway , a winter sports nation still basking in the

Anchorage (Alaska): A Norwegian musher won the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race early on Wednesday, notching the third victory ever for his home country in the Ulsom was greeted by Nome’s mayor and crowds of fans who lined Nome’s snow-covered Front Street, including one waving a Norwegian flag.

Waerner is part of a growing Norwegian presence at the Iditarod. He is the third of his countrymen to win the famous race, following two-time champion Robert Sorlie and 2018 champion Joar Leifseth Ulsom.

Interviewed in the finish chute, Waerner said he had a message for other Norwegians.

"They should come here and do the race, also. It’s an amazing race. The nature you go through, the checkpoints, trails, this is the greatest race you can do," he said. "So you in Norway, just start training."

For his victory, Waerner won $51,000 and a new truck.

Fifty-seven mushers and their teams started the race on March 7 in Anchorage. As of early Wednesday, after Waerner crossed the finish line, 11 had dropped out but 45 more remained on the trail.

(Reporting by Yereth Rosen in Anchorage; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day parades are still a go, officials say .
Even as Ireland cancels St. Patrick’s Day parades across the island to try to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 virus and Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a disaster proclamation for Illinois because of the disease, Chicago officials said Monday they currently have no plans to call off the two major mid-March parades that draw massive crowds of revelers downtown and to the Southwest Side. The city’s official parade is set to kick off at noon Saturday. The South Side Irish Parade takes place on Sunday along Western Avenue in the Far Southwest Side Beverly neighborhood. Each can draw crowds well into the hundreds of thousands if the weather’s nice.

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