Dallas Seavey wins third Iditarod sled dog race in 4 years
NOME, Alaska (AP) — Dallas Seavey has won his third Iditarod dog sled race in the last four years, beating his father to the finish line early Wednesday.
Seavey came in under the city of Nome’s famous burled arch finish line to wild applause from fans lining the street.
An exhausted Seavey, who also won the 1,000-mile (16,09-kilometer) Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in 2012 and 2014, petted and hugged his dogs as he crossed the finish line, later saying, “It takes a whole team to get us here.”
Seavey said he and his father, Mitch Seavey, who won titles in 2013 and 2004, encouraged each other along the way.
Dallas Seavey was confident before the race, telling The Associated Press he had the dog team that was capable of defending his title.
He increasingly put distance between himself and the rest of the field during the latter part of the race. He held a 25-mile (40-kilometer) advantage early Tuesday — a far cry from how he won the race last year. He was running third in the 2014 Iditarod when a freak snowstorm blew the leaders out of the race, and Seavey didn’t know he had won the race until a cameraman broke the news to him.
Seavey was presented $70,000 and the keys to a new pickup for winning the race.
Aaron Burmeister was running in third place, while Jessie Royer and Aliy Zirkle were battling for fourth. Royer and Zirkle had attempted to become the first woman to win the race since the late Susan Butcher won her fourth title in 1990.
Poor weather south of the Alaska Range this year forced the official start farther north to Fairbanks, on the northern side of the mountains. Not much snow fell south of the range, and officials said the conditions in the normally treacherous Dalzell Gorge were made even more dangerous by a lack of snow.
A new race route also was created, with much of it run on river ice.
A total of 78 mushers began the race March 9. Eight scratched, and one was disqualified. Two dogs have died in this year’s race.