40 mushers sign up for the Last Great Race

Four-time Iditarod champion Martin Buser signed up at Iditarod headquarters on June 29 for Iditarod 2020. Buser, of Big Lake, won the Last Great Race in 1992, 1994, 1997 and 2002. Photo by Margaret Bauman/for The Cordova Times

Forty mushers, including five Iditarod champions, plus international teams from Canada, Norway, Denmark and Italy are signed up for Iditarod 2020, which will be the 48th running of the Last Great Race.

Twenty-three mushers were on hand at Iditarod Trail Committee headquarters in Wasilla for the June 29 volunteer picnic to sign up in person.

Seventeen others signed up via mail on the first official entry day for the race. The deadline for sign-up is Dec. 2. The race begins on the first weekend of March 2020, with the ceremonial start on March 7, and the real race beginning March 8.

The roster includes 2019 Iditarod champion Pete Kaiser, Bethel; four-time champions Martin Buser, Big Lake; and Lance Mackey, Fox; three-time champion Mitch Seavey, Seward, and 2018 champion Joar Leifseth Ulsom, a Norwegian now living in Willow. Seavey is the father of four-time Iditarod champion Dallas Seavey, also of Willow.

Also, on the roster are over two dozen Iditarod veterans, including Aliy Zirkle, Two Rivers; Aaron Burmeiter, Nome/Nenana; Jim Lanier, Chugiak; Jessie Royer, Fairbanks; Wade Marrs, Robert Redington, Lev Shvarts and Matthew Failor, all of Willow; Anna and Kristy Berington, Knik; Nicolas Petit, Girdwood, and Ryan Redington, Skagway.

Six of those signed up are rookies, including Fabio Berlusconi, of Lomazzo, Italy.

A complete list of all those signed up to date is online at iditarod.com/race/2020/mushers/list.

In the annual drawing for a complimentary entry fee, the winners were Iditarod veteran Mitch Seavey and rookie Gabe Dunham of Willow.

During the festivities, the ITC also announced the appointment of Rob Urbach as its new chief executive officer, who will oversee all operations related to the race. Urbach, who hails from Colorado, served as chief executive officer of USA Triathlon from 2011-2017 and handled all day-to-day operations for the national governing body for USA Triathlon. Prior to that, Urbach was the executive vice president for Octagon, a global sports management and marketing firm, and led operations of professional sporting events, management of several hundred elite athletes and the sports marketing investments of major global companies.