re-sized Iditarod

The longest and most difficult race in the world ends on a high for Dallas Seavey

Yesterday, Dallas Seavey became the youngest person ever to win the nearly 1,000-mile Iditarod race across Alaska – in just 9 days… that’s mind boggling. Congratulations!

Dallas Seavey crossing the finish line in Nome

Dallas Seavey becomes youngest person to win the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race

Seavey, who turned 25 on March 4, the day the race officially started north of Anchorage, was the first musher to reach Nome, coming into the Bering Sea coastal community at 7:29 p.m. Tuesday. He was following in legendary footsteps or should I say paw prints? His father, Mitch, 52, won the race in 2004 and his grandfather, 74-year-old Dan, was running in the 2012 Iditarod for the  fifth time. It was his way of celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Iditarod Trail. Dan’s trip to Nome was sponsored by the Iditarod Historic Trail Alliance to highlight the rich history of the trail.

The previous youngest winner was the race’s only five-time champion, who won his first Iditarod at age 26 in 1977. Rick Swenson, now 61, is also in this year’s race, and is running in the middle of the pack.

The “fiercely competitive” (his father’s description) Dallas was the first musher to reach the White Mountain checkpoint at 12:14 a.m.  where he had a mandatory 8-hour layover to rest his dogs. He was also the first musher to leave White Mountain followed by Aliy Zirkle, and maintained his lead for the last 77 miles of the trail from White Mountain to the finish line in Nome. Aliy Zirkle came in exactly one hour later.

Seavey’s team traveled the Trail in 9 days, 04 hours, 29 minutes, 26 seconds. The record is still held by John Baker the 2011 Champion at a time of 8 days, 18 hours, 46 minutes, 39 seconds.

11 mushers and their teams have now arrived safely in Nome including Dallas’ father, Mitch.

“The race continues until every musher is in Nome. It’s not over until they’re ALL in, from first place to the Red Lantern!” say the Iditarod Trail Committee. Sixty-six teams began the race on March 4. Twelve mushers have scratched and this includes Kirk Barnum of Grangeville, Idaho who scratched in Kaltag. Barnum made the decision to scratch because his team weren’t enjoying the trip and therefore he decided that in their best interests he would pull out.

It’s all about the dogs

photos courtesy of Al Grillo/AP

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