Iditarod 2011: Some dreams are already over

We are only two and a half days into the 2011 Iditarod and we already have two scratches.

Melissa Owens of Nome, and Zoya DeNure of Gakona.

Both of the musher’s Iditarod dreams come to a screeching halt in a notorious portion of the trail, Rainy Pass.

Owens, aggravated a leg injury that happened before the race even started scratched at 2 a.m. while DeNure called it quits too around 6 a.m Alaska time on Tuesday March 8.

Owens, 21, spent more than 13 hours at the Rainy Pass checkpoint before deciding to scratch. She had already dropped two dogs.

There is no official report at the time of this post from officials as to why DeNure scratched. DeNure, a former runway model, runs a rescue for sled dogs with her husband, John Schandelmeier, a former Yukon Quest champion.

Don’t let the super-model tag fool you. DeNure is one tough musher and finished 53 in her rookie attempt in the 2008 Iditarod.

Deciding to scratch in the Iditarod is no easy task. Mushers have trained for years to get to the starting line. Sometimes at the expense of just about everything; family, hundreds of thousands of dollars, jobs, and some can say sanity.

Alaska Dispatch reporter, Craig Medred wrote a book, Graveyard of Dreams that documented the real life struggles and what happens when mushers cash in everything to chase their dreams.

In my opinion it is not who wins or loses the Iditarod it is the stories that happen along the way that make this race what it is. And the 2011 Iditarod is already proving itself to be a real captivating story.

Listen to our daily coverage of the Iditarod on Mush! You Huskies at 6 p.m. Mountain time or you can download it anytime on iTunes (search Dog Works Radio) or at


Robert Forto | Team Ineka | Alaska Dog Works | Mushing Radio | Dog Works Radio | Denver Dog Works | Daily Post


Robert Forto is a musher training for his first Iditarod under the Team Ineka banner and the host of the popular radio shows, Mush! You Huskies and Dog Works Radio Shows