Every year, musher Wade Marrs thinks about winning the Iditarod.

This year, he's recalibrated those expectations. Instead of reaching the burled arch in Nome first in a 52-team field, he's thinking about a top-20 finish.

A busted sled will do that.

"Went over some moguls and the runner was flexing up and down and that's what snapped it," Marrs said in Unalakleet during a rest. "Then got caught on a tussock later and ripped the whole thing off." 

Like dogs running well, decision making and weather, a sled can make or break a race. And when it's breaking down, you have issues.

"Used to have a seat on the back and two runners that were the same length," Marrs said in Unalakleet. "Now it's got no seat on the back 'cause the runner snapped off and broke the seat off and so now we have a short runner and a long runner." 

But the sled moves and so will his team, saying they'll continue on toward Nome. However, it will cause his dogs to work harder.

"With the short front and stuff it kind of nose dives a lot so it's little harder to pull and we get stuck every once in a while," said Marrs.

It means a finish this year will be a different kind of victory. He hopes to get to Nome in one piece. He's left too many behind along the way.

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