Michelle Phillips finishes 11th in 2021 Iditarod

Yukoner Michelle Phillips turned in a career-best 11th place finish at the 2021 Iditarod, crossing the finish line outside Anchorage, Alaska, at 4:30:56 p.m. local time on March 15th with 11 dogs on the line.

Dallas Seavey won his fifth Iditarod when he and his team reached the finish at 5:08:57 a.m. earlier on March 15th. Aaron Burmeister finished second at 8:23:05 a.m., and three-time Yukon Quest winner Brent Sass was third.

COVID-19 restrictions meant Alberta’s Aaron Peck was the only other Canadian in the field. Peck placed 14th, finishing at 1:05:46 a.m. on March 16th.

This year’s race featured an out-and-back format starting and ending outside of Anchorage, rather than the usual race from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. As a result, the race included head-on passing and was somewhat shorter than usual at 832 miles (1,340 kilometres) – although it’s important to note the real length of long-distance races fluctuates year to year even without major reroutes.

The trail itself was a modification of the southern route typically used in odd years. The race started in Deshka Landing and followed the usual trail to Iditarod, before turning around and racing back to the start.

Phillips has previously finished the Iditarod 10 times. She has raced every year since 2010, save for 2019, and her previous best result was 13th in both 2020 and 2017.

Photo credit: Frank Kovalchek/CC BY 2.0