Iditarod teams continue making their way to Nome

Posted: Thursday, March 15, 2001

NOME (AP) -- One day after Montana musher Doug Swingley claimed his fourth Iditarod victory, teams continued to make their way to Nome.

Five-time champion Rick Swenson claimed fourth place in the wee hours Thursday morning. Swenson arrived at 2:57 a.m., to finish the race in 10 days,15 hours and 57 minutes.

''I felt really good out there,'' Swenson said. ''Had a lot of fun, parked next to some nice guys, reconnected with some old friendships. But the trail was tough no doubt, all the way from Rainy Pass to Rohn River, one dang thing after another.''

While Swenson arrived as Nome slept, much of the town turned out for Willow musher Linwood Fiedler who finished second Wednesday just before 3 p.m. Fiedler has run the Iditarod 12 times before and this was only his second appearance in the top 10. He was clearly a fan favorite as he drove his team under the burled arch on Nome's Front Street.

''I want to say how proud I am of my dogs and having finished so well in such a great race that really ties our state together,'' Fiedler said to the crowd. ''It's a wonderful thread, to be a part of it and be this up front is just unreal. It's like dreams come true.''

Fiedler's dogs trained during the summer while leading tourists on glacier tours near Juneau.

''For whatever reason I had the confidence to appreciate that they were in the zone and be able to capitalize on it, to not hold back and to have faith in them. We trained hard this year,'' he said.

Three-time champion Jeff King of Denali Park reach Nome at 6:19 a.m. in third place. King said he hopes to give Swingley a run for his money next year.

''I've been figuring out a plan for next year and we'll get the cowboy next year,'' King said of Swingley, the only non-Alaskan ever to win the race.

By midmorning Thursday, six mushers had finished.

Paul Gebhardt of Kasilof arrived in Nome at 7:37 while John Baker of Kotzebue arrived 23 minutes later to claim 6th place.

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