2020 YQ300

YQ300 musher Jeremy Traska approaches the Central checkpoint. He signed in at 4:05 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020 in first place.

Jeremy Traska of Two Rivers was the first of the 15 remaining YQ300 mushers to reach the Central checkpoint on Sunday.

The YQ300 follows the Yukon Quest’s trail to the Circle checkpoint. Mushers then double back down Birch Creek to finish at Central.

Traska checked in at 4:05 p.m., one hour and 29 minutes ahead of second place Nathaniel Hamlyn.

“My schedule was to go slow and steady and that’s what I’ve done, so I guess here we are now,” he said as he was already an hour into the only four-hour mandatory layover of the race and still the only racer in sight.

“I haven’t really seen anyone in a little while. I think the last people I saw were between the start and the first checkpoint.”

This is Traska’s first time racing the YQ300. He’s hoping to run the Yukon Quest in 2021.

As of 9:30 p.m., Madeline Rubida, Joe Taylor, Jennifer LaBar, Claudia Wickert and Sean Underwood were the only other mushers to reach the midway point.

No team has left Central. Tabitha Hughes and Lauro Eklund scratched at Two Rivers.

Contact News-Miner sports writer Laura Stickells at 459-7530. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMsports.

Correction: The 300-mile race will end in Central this year.