Lanier cashes in

Chugiak musher wins Iditarod’s $3,000 halfway award


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Chugiak’s Jim Lanier leaves the starting chute for the 2012 Iditarod on Sunday, March 4 in Willow. Lanier, 71, was the first musher to reach the Cripple checkpoint this year, winning $3,000 in gold nuggets on March 8 and claiming the GCI Dorothy Page Award, which is given each year to the first musher to reach the midway point in the race.

STAR PHOTO BY MATT TUNSETH

Chugiak’s Jim Lanier has cashed in.

Lanier, 71, was the first Iditarod musher to reach the Cripple checkpoint on Thursday, March 8, claiming the GCI Dorothy Page Award and $3,000 in gold nuggets courtesy of the telecommunications company.

He arrived in the checkpoint with 13 dogs after making a 14 hour, 30 minute run from Ophir.

Although Lanier was the first musher to reach the halfway mark, his lead didn’t last for long. Lanier still had to declare his 24-hour layover, and he did so in Cripple. By the time he left the checkpoint the following day, the lead pack of mushers had blown past on their way to Nome.

Lanier is a retired physician who is running his 15th Iditarod this year. As of Wednesday morning as the Star went to press, he had reached the Koyuk checkpoint in 31st place with 123 miles left to go to the finish line on Front Street in Nome.

Lanier missed last year’s race due to a hip replacement surgery, and left from the starting chute wearing shoulder pads. But his record indicates he’s one of the toughest mushers in the field. If Lanier does finish the race – and he’s never scratched in 14 previous appearances – he will have completed “The Last Great Race on Earth” in five different decades.

Lanier lives in Chugiak with his wife, fellow musher Anna Bondarenko and their son, Jimmy.

Suprenant scratches in Unalakleet

Chugiak's Mike Suprenant scratched from the 2012 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, according to a press release issued by race officials Wednesday, March 14.

According to the relase, Suprenanant made the decision Wednesday morning in Unalakleet based on the well-being of his dog team. The town on the Bering Sea coast is approximately 275 miles from Nome.

Suprenant had nine dogs in his team when he made the decision. He was in 51st place out of 54 remaining mushers. The 47-year-old  finished the 2009 Iditarod in 49th place, also scratched in 2008 and 2010.

For complete race updates, visit www.iditarod.com

Young Seavey is the champ

Dallas Seavey, 25, a member of a famous mushing family who grew up on the Kenai Peninsula before moving to Willow recently to run dogs, became the youngest champion in Iditarod history when he crossed the finish line in Nome at 7:29 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13. Aliy Zirkle of Two Rivers was second, followed closely by Willow’s Ramey Smyth.

As of Wednesday morning, 11 mushers had reached the finish line in the 40th running of the annual race, which began March 4 on Willow Lake.

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