FAIRBANKS—The final musher in the 2015 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race arrived in Nome late Sunday, passing under the famed burled arch finish line a few seconds before 9:20 p.m.
Cindy Abbott, a rookie musher from Irvine, California, left the checkpoint at Safety, 22 miles from the finish, at 6:11 p.m. with 13 dogs. She stayed just three minutes after making the 55-mile run from White Mountain, where teams are required to stay at least eight hours.
Abbott finished with a total time of 13 days, 11 hours, 19 minutes and 51 seconds. This year’s winner, Dallas Seavey, finished in eight days, 18 hours, 13 minutes, six seconds.
This was Abbott's third attempt at the Iditarod, after scratching due to injuries in 2013 and 2014. The 56-year-old, who summited Mount Everest in 2010, entered the race to bring awareness to rare diseases. She suffers from Wegener’s granulomatosis, which affects her vision and circulation.
Abbott, who wins the Red Lantern Award given to the last team to arrive, was the 66th musher to finish this year’s race. Isabelle Travadon, Marcelle Fressineau, Lachlan Clarke, Cindy Gallea and Trent Herbst were the mushers arriving Sunday ahead of Abbott.
Seventy-eight teams started this year’s Iditarod, which began its official start March 9 in Fairbanks after the start was moved from its traditional location of Willow due to a lack of snow on significant portions of trail in Southcentral Alaska.
Eleven teams dropped out during the race for various reasons, be it personal injury, a dog team that ran out of energy, or personal reasons. One musher, Brent Sass of Eureka, was disqualified in Tanana in a controversial decision by race officials for being in possession of a device — an iPod Touch — capable of two-way communication. There was no accusation that Sass was using the device in a such a manner, which is prohibited by race rules.
Also Sunday, the Iditarod released a statement on the necropsy of Lance Mackey's dog Stiffy. It states, "Although abnormalities were found, the cause of death could not be determined." Further testing will be conducted.
Stiffy was the second dog from Mackey's team to die in the race. A third dog, belonging to Clarke, was killed in Anchorage when it got loose and was hit by a car after the ceremonial start.
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