Chugiak’s Lanier out of 2020 Iditarod
For the second straight time Jim Lanier left the Iditarod Trail on a snowmachine.
The 79-year-old Chugiak musher scratched from the 48th Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race after his team stopped on the trail between Rainy Pass and Rohn, according to a report by KTUU television.
Iditarod officials confirmed the scratch in a Tuesday night email saying only that Lanier made the decision to scratch for his own well being.
The Anchorage-based television station quoted Rainy Pass Lodge owner Steve Perrins as saying the veteran musher was brought back to the checkpoint via snowmachine after his team stopped on the trail. Lanier was in last place in the 57-musher field with 14 dogs in his team when he pulled out of the 1,000-mile race from Willow to Nome.
A 16-time Iditarod finisher, Lanier was initially barred from running this year’s race by officials who questioned his ability to properly care of his team after Lanier and fellow musher Scott Janssen were rescued in 2018 along the Bering Sea Coast after getting stuck in a storm. However, he re-qualified for the 2020 race by running a pair of middle-distance qualifying races earlier this winter.
Before this year’s race Lanier said he was ready to race and felt he had his best team yet.
Lanier first ran the race in 1979, finishing in his first 16 attempts. But he’s now failed to reach Nome in five straight attempts dating back to 2014 and hasn’t completed the run since finishing 35th in 2013.
This is a developing story that will be updated if more information becomes available.