The ceremonial start of the 33rd annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race across the US state of Alaska began in Anchorage on March 5, 2005 at 10 am AKST (19:00 UTC), and restarted in Willow the next day at 2 pm (23:00 UTC). After covering 1,161 miles (1,868 km) of wilderness, musher Robert Sørlie, an airport firefighter from Norway, crossed the finish line under the "burled arch" in Nome on March 16 at 8:39 am AKST (17:39 UTC). After taking care of his dogs, and an inspection to make sure all the mandatory equipment was in his sled, Sørlie was declared the winner by Race Marshal Mark Norman, with a time of 9 days, 18 hours, 39 minutes, and 31 seconds and won US$72,066.67 and a new truck. When asked how it felt to win a second time, Sørlie said "it feels good, I'm ready for breakfast", live on the Alaska superstation. His team of dogs averaged 4.65 mi/h (7.58 km/h). The Red Lantern in last was Phil Morgan, an Alaska Airlines pilot, and when he crossed the finish line on March 21 at 8:02 pm AKST (March 22, 5:02 UTC), the Widow's Lantern hanging on the burled arch was extinguished, which signalled the end of the race.
Sørlie became the first non-U.S. resident to win the race in 2003, and the similarities between his two victories are striking. In both races he was plagued by insomnia, pulled ahead by the halfway point of the race, managed to hold on to a sizeable but diminishing lead, and was reduced to 8 of 16 dogs by the finish. Both races were also slowed by poor trail conditions, which was caused by unseasonably warm weather with daily highs that hovered just above freezing.
The finishers banquet was held on March 20, and 62 of 63 mushers had crossed the finish line and were able to attend. Bjørnar Andersen won the Rookie of the Year Award, with the best place by a rookie since 1976. Martin Buser, who lost part of a finger in a table-saw accident less than a week before the race, had exposed nerves trimmed by a veterinarian, and finished 12th won both the Sportsmanship and the Most Inspirational Musher awards. The Golden Harness was given to Whitestock, one of Sørlie's lead dogs. (ITC, March 21, 2005)
Sixteen other mushers have scratched, including the only five-time champion of the Iditarod, Rick Swenson, and the legally blind Rachael Scdoris, who caused a media sensation at the start of the race. The top 30 arrived by the end of March 17 AKST. As of the end of March 19 AKST the top 54 arrived at Nome, by the end of March 20 all but one musher arrived in Nome. The dogs Rita, Nellie, Oakley, and Tyson have died, belonging to Paul Gebhardt, Doug Swingley, Jason Barron, and Michael Salvisberg respectively.
Note: All times are Alaska Standard Time/AKST (UTC-9).
Read more about 2005 Iditarod: March 5: Ceremonial Start, March 6: Restart in Willow, March 7: Alaska Range, March 8, March 9, March 10: Halfway Point At Iditarod, March 11: Yukon River, March 12, March 13: Bering Sea, March 14, March 15, March 16: Burled Arch in Nome, March 21, Competitors, Awards
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