Running the Iditarod is a tough challenge, both physically and mentally. It can be tough for those who have run it dozens of times before, but it can be a serious challenge for those who are new to the event.
Charley Bejna, from Addison, IL, just decided to scratch the Iditarod. He was in between the checkpoints of Unalakleet and Shaktoolik. He notified Iditarod Trail Committee members of his decision at 6:15 CST.
He only had seven dogs left on his team, which is the required amount of dogs to finish. He still had five checkpoints to go, and it was decided that it would be best to scratch than to be disqualified for not having enough dogs to finish.
The official press release states that both Charley and his dogs are fine and that local volunteers are helping Charley get to Shaktoolik where he can officially begin his trek home.
Although I am disappointed to see him scratch, I feel this is a good decision on his part and I hope that he runs again next year. It can be hard for a rookie, but I think it’s even harder to walk away from a race you nearly completed. He had raced over 700 miles of 998 required.