The Last Great Race wrapped up last night. Earlier in the week Aliy Zirkle, aged 44, finished the race for the 13th time. Many of those finishes were in the top ten. This was her second finish in second place. After 8 days, 13 hours, 6 minutes and 41 seconds, she was just two hours behind winner Dallas Seavey. For the teams in the lead, the race this year ended in a life threatening storm. Perennial Iditarod champion Joe Runyon blogged about the weather:
"What do I think about
the wind? Rarely do I insert my own direct personal anecdotes into the
dialogue, but I think this race is shut down. The winds into Nome are
legendary and life threatening. They have killed people, and it’s not joking around.
If you have ever been caught in the wind, you will understand that wind
is the ultimate weapon of an arctic winter. In my racing days, I actually
sat down and decided what I would do in a big blow. My decision was to
not test it. Sometimes you can make it, but often you can’t. To go
into the wind and expect others to risk their life, or risk frostbite, to save
your decision is foolhardy."
After Zirkle brought her team safely into the last checkpoint before Nome, she intended to wait out the storm. When Dallas Seavey went on, she followed. After the race she gave an interview to Julia O'Malley that I am linking to here. In my view Aliy is every bit as much a champion as she would be with a two minute advantage over Seavey. Enjoy what she says.