Cindy Gallea finishes
the Iditarod well ahead
of previous time

by Donna Love
For the Pathfinder

March 22, 2001
Seeley Swan Pathfinder
Seeley Lake, Montana

Pathfinder file photo

Seeley Lake musher, Cindy Gallea, of Snowcrest Kennels completed the Alaskan Iditarod in thirty-eighth place Thursday, March 17, at 8:46 p.m. Her final running time was 12 days, 21 hours and 31 minutes.

She crossed the finish line with a team of eight dogs, having dropped eight other dogs along her route.

Gallea had hoped to finish the race a day earlier, but her time was still faster than her 1998 run of 14 days and 48 minutes. She also ran the course about a half a day faster than her husband, Bill, who raced in 1996 with a time of 13 days, 14 hours.

Along with Gallea, three other Montana musherscompleted the race. Doug Swingley of Lincoln won with a time of 9 days, 19 hours and 55 minutes. This is his fourth time to win and his third consecutive win.

Jessica Royer, a native of Philispburg who moved to Alaska in 1998 came in 14th place with a time of 11 days, 23 hours. Jessica received the Iditarod Rookie of the Year Award.

John Barron, of Lincoln took 38th place, coming in about 1 hour and 45 minutes after Gallea, with a time of 12 days, 22 hours and 45 minutes.

Of the eight women that raced, Gallea ranked fifth. Dee Dee Johnson, of Alaska completed the course in the top ten mushers coming in 10th place. Johnson was followed by Royer, in 14th place. Gwen Holdman and Aliy Zirkle, both of Alaska, took 30th and 33rd place.

Three other woman finished behind Gallea, placing 50th and 52nd. A woman musher from Alberta, Canada, came in last on Monday, a day after the Iditarod Awards Banquet. She finished with a time of 15 days, 14 hours and 23 minutes.

Her last place rank earned her the Red Lantern Award given to her at a special banquet on Monday evening.

The Red Lantern Award started from the tradition of leaving a lantern in town for mushers out on the trail. In keeping with the tradition, the "Widow's Lamp" was lit in Nome when the race began and remained on until the last musher crossed the finish line signaling the end of the Iditarod for this year.

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