Norwegian musher Thomas Waerner wins Iditarod

(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) — Thomas Waerner of Norway won the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Wednesday morning, crossing the finish line in Nome, Alaska after 9 days, 10 hours, 37 minutes, and 47 seconds.

The Iditarod is one of the few U.S. sporting events not cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic.

After finishing the nearly 1,000 mile trek across Alaska, Waerner thanked his ten sled dogs, petting and rubbing them. He then gave each dog a snack, before telling reporters at the finish line that the win felt “awesome.”

The 47-year-old had only attempted the race once before, in 2015. He finished 17th in that race, and was named Rookie of the Year.

Fanspoured out of bars and hotels to cheer Waerner on. He will win at least $5,000 and a pickup truck.

Waerner is the third Norwegian musher to win the Iditarod, which began with 57 mushers on March 8.

Fears over the coronavirus altered this year’s race, with fans asked not to fly to Nome for the finish, as the city closed buildings to the public. In other villages along the course, official check-in points were moved outside of the community to limit contact.

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