Former NH resident Aliy Zirkle takes second in Iditarod
By MICHAEL COUSINEAU
New Hampshire Union Leader | March 11. 2014 7:45PM
Second-place finisher for the third year in a row, Aliy Zirkle talks with reporters after completing the Iditarod dog sled race in Nome, Alaska Tuesday. (REUTERS/Nathaniel Wilder)
The former Merrimack resident's decision to seek shelter in a windstorm at the last checkpoint in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Monday night allowed eventual race winner, Dallas Seavey, to claim the title in the race's second-closest finish ever.
Zirkle, who was born in Nashua and lived in Merrimack until age 8, finished second by 2 minutes and 32 seconds — less time than it takes the average person to go through a fast-food drive-thru.
"I was worried about Dallas," Zirkle told the Alaska newspaper. "I was worried about everybody behind me."
"What's a gal to do?" she asked.
Zirkle, who now lives in Alaska, finished behind winner Dallas Seavey of Willow, Alaska, who made it in record time.
Zirkle and her canine team covered the roughly 1,000-mile course in eight days, 13 hours, 6 minutes and 41 seconds.
The closest finish happened in 1978 when Dick Mackey beat Rick Swenson by one second.
Mike Ellis, a former 25-year resident of Rumney, remained on the course in 37th place Tuesday.
"That's fantastic," Richter said.
"It's such a marathon for the dogs and there's so many things that can go right and so many things that can go wrong," she said.