Aliy Zirkle and her hubby Allan Moore are each running teams in Iditarod as usual. Besides having the coolest names on the trail (I mean, your initials are AZ… and Aliy and Allen…)… they are some of the nicest people on the trail.
Allen runs the “puppy team”, young dogs who are doing this for experience, not to win. The point is for them to learn stuff, and to have fun, to see this as a positive experience so they will want to run as older, more experienced dogs.
Aliy runs the competitive team, and has come in second and third a few gazillion times now.
They keep a fabulous blog, here: http://spkenneldoglog.blogspot.com/
Teams will be starting to take their mandatory 24 or 8 hour stops and for the next few checkpoints we will see lots of leap-frogging in positions as some teams rest earlier and others rest later. Only once everyone has done both the “Yukon 8” and their 24 will we have a better picture of actual positions.
Teams start the race staggered, so there isn’t a major traffic jam at the beginning. this is figured into rest stops later so everyone ends up with “an even start”, and whoever runs under the burled arch first is the real winner (sometimes it has been neck and neck!).
Mushers run and rest at whatever schedule is best for their teams’ health… until they get to the mandatory 8 hour stop, and the mandatory 24 hour layover later in the race. After those, they go back to shorter run/rest cycles of their choosing.
All of it is based on what the dogs need. Mushers often go with minimal sleep.