Veteran musher Jessie Royer takes 3rd in 2019 Iditarod
Jessie Royer, the 42-year-old veteran musher from Idaho, checked in to Nome at 9:34 a.m. Wednesday, taking third place in the 2019 Iditarod.
Royer arrived at the burled arch with 11 dogs in harness. She finished the race in 9 days, 18 hours and 34 minutes. Her average speed was 4.21 miles per hour, according to standings on Iditarod.com.
Coming in first was another veteran musher, Peter Kaiser, who crossed the finish line six hours earlier, outrunning defending champion Joar Leifseth Ulsom by just 12 minutes.
At the finish line, Royer said for the last 50 miles of the race she was in what seemed like a "white-out snow globe."
"I don't think I've ever gone so slow for so long," she said. "I'm very happy to be here, but it's just the trail conditions."
Royer said she had to drop two of her best leaders because of sore feet on the trail, including one that has led her to Nome the past four years.
"Dog care has been the name of this race," she said. "[It's] been huge."
When asked if she'd come back for next year's Iditarod, Royer joked she wouldn't know what else to do.
"It's a challenge and, I don't know, I just love being out here, I love this trail, I love the country and yes it can be harsh and brutal and in 17 years you've run into every condition imaginable, but I guess that's what brings you back," she said. "Just the challenges of the trail and the camaraderie of the other mushers and the relationship, the bond with the dogs and that's what brings you back every year. I can't think of anything else I'd rather do."
This is Royer's 17th Iditarod and the first time she's ever placed in the top three. After pulling in to Nome, she hugged and kissed her dogs, giving extra love to Seal and Striker, the brothers that led her to the finish line.
"You just really got to run your race and your dog team and not worry about what anybody else is doing," Royer said. "I always try to get my team to Nome as quick as I can and wherever I finish is how I finish, so I'm proud of my dogs and proud of what we did."
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