05/24 20:34 CDT Virus strands Norway racer in Alaska after Iditarod win
Virus strands Norway racer in Alaska after Iditarod win
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) --- Thomas Waerner won this year's Iditarod Trail Sled
Dog Race in March, but he is still waiting to return to his home in Norway.
Waerner and his 16 dogs have been stranded in Alaska by travel restrictions and
flight cancellations caused by the coronavirus pandemic, The Anchorage Daily
News reported Saturday.
"I like Alaska a lot," Waerner said. "It's kind of my dream place. But I have a
Waerner has five children and 35 other sled dogs in Torpa, Norway. He missed
the 10th birthday of one of his children and misses morning coffee with his
wife, Guro, who left Alaska in March shortly before health restrictions stopped
The 47-year-old plans to fly home in early June on a DC-6 aircraft bound for
the Air History Museum in Sola, Norway.
Everts Air Cargo of Fairbanks is selling the historic plane, and Waerner said
the museum is expected to finalize the deal this week.
"We are hitchhiking," Waerner said. "The plane is going to Norway, and we are
going with them. We are so lucky."
Prior to the trip Waerner is expected to undergo a COVID-19 test and collect
his dogs from a kennel in Salcha owned by fellow musher Arleigh Reynolds.
Waerner said he has friends in the Alaska towns of Ester and Salcha and often
spends a few days around Fairbanks after the Iditarod. This year, a few days
turned into more than a few weeks and Waerner is ready to resume his normal
"My wife has been taking care of 35 dogs, the kids, and working as a
veterinarian," he said. Once he returns home, " ?yes, dear,' will be the answer
for everything," he said.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as
fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older
adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe
illness, including pneumonia, and death. The vast majority of people recover.