Jon Little is not the rabbit.
“Don’t call me that,” he said getting ready to feed his team at the Carmacks checkpoint.
“I’m not fast, I’m just steady.”
But the Kasilof, Alaska, musher is fast.
Little, who ran the Quest in 2005, pulled into Pelly Crossing four hours ahead of the rest of the race.
When he’s not competing, Little covers long-distance mushing as a journalist.
“I’ve seen people at checkpoints exercising a plan, and I’m going to do that,” he said.
“This is a 1000-mile race, so it’s a matter of keeping my team together.”
With cool temperatures, and a fairly hard trail, the race is fast.
By 7:30 a.m. Monday, Carcross musher William Kleedehn had blown through Pelly Crossing. Hugh Neff, of Annie Lake, hauled through 30 minutes behind him.
Little was still resting at the checkpoint with Whitehorse musher Hans Gatt.
The run from Pelly to the next checkpoint, in Dawson, is 318 kilometres.
The only musher still at Carmacks was Alaskan rookie Becca Moore.
Four-time Quest champ Lance Mackey’s little brother Jason left Carmacks in 27th place at 7:42 Monday morning, followed by Fox Lake’s Didier Moggia.
Quest 300 mushers, who started leaving six hours after full-Quest racers, are catching up with the 1,000-milers.
Shallow Bay musher Gerry Willomitzer left Carmacks at 1 a.m., ahead of 17 Quest racers.
Tagish musher Ed Hopkins was right behind him, vying for first place.