Joe Redington Sr. is the father of the Iditarod, founding the race in 1973 and going on to race 19 times. Two of his sons and three grandsons have carried on the tradition, a total of six Redingtons have run 70 Iditarod races prior to this year.
Ryan’s mom Barb should be the new “Mother of the Iditarod” (according to me) she’s the ultimate fan, volunteer, Jr Iditarod coordinator, photographer, and the nicest lady you ever met.
The Redingtons have arguably given more than anyone to the Iditarod (Joe mortgaged his house for crying out loud) but they don’t have the massive bronze bust of Joe Redington that serves as the Iditarod championship trophy. The closest they’ve come was Joee’s 3rd place run in 1975. Ray Jr. took 4th in 2018, and there are five 5ths, but the win has proven elusive. It goes to show just how hard this thing is to win.
That may be about to change. Ryan Redington (Joe’s Grandson) led the race out of Kaltag (mile 652) this evening, roughly 2/3 of the way to Nome. He was the fastest team on the run to Kaltag, and has more than doubled his 20 minutes lead since then. He’s got the biggest team with 12 dogs, and is running a smart race. Other than a broken runner that didn’t seem to slow him down, he’s catching the breaks required to close out a win.
I know I’m supposed to be rooting for Christian and Kelly, but I would love to see Ryan win…we’re the same age, ran 3 Junior Iditarod races together in our teens, ran the same Iditarod qualifiers, and were prepping to run our rookie Iditarods together as three-generation events. Unfortunately Joe Sr. passed away before we turned 18. It feels like a guy you went to high school with doing well. Ryan has paid his dues and deserves a win here, but Barb deserves one even more!
Pete Kaiser and Richie Diehl are going to give him a run for his money, and the next group isn’t far back. This is where the Iditarod gets exciting!