2013 Iditarod Winner Is Oldest Ever

By claiming victory in the 2013 Iditarod earlier this week, 53-year-old musher Mitch Seavey managed to cement his place in the annals of Alaskan lore. Not only did he secure the second Iditarod win of his 20-year career, he also became the oldest person to win the event in its 41-year history. This is in sharp contrast to last year’s race in which Mitch’s son Dallas became the youngest Iditarod winner at the age of 25.

In order to win the 1000-mile sled dog race, Seavey had to hold off a late charge from Aliy Zirkle. She made a bid to become the first female winner of the race in 23 years and was in good form as the lead teams turned toward the finish line in Nome. She ended up finishing 23 minutes behind the winner, making this the closest Iditarod in history. Zirkle finished second to Dallas Seavey last year as well.

The Iditarod is Alaska’s premiere sporting event, drawing in competitors and spectators from around the world. Each year the race begins in Anchorage where the mushers and their dogs set out on the historic Iditarod trail. Over the course of the thousand-mile race, the skill, endurance and strategy of each of the competitors is pushed to the limits as they endure unpredictable weather, harsh temperatures and sometimes dangerous trail conditions.

To earn the win in this year’s edition of the race, Seavey completed the entire course in 9 days, 7 hours and 39 minutes. Considering the fact that each racer must take a couple of mandatory 8-hour breaks – as well as a 24-hour rest – along the way, that is one impressive time.

As of this writing more than half the field has now reached Nome but racing continues for the teams who are still out on the course. Most should wander across the finish line in the next day or two, with the final racer earning the traditional Red Lantern in recognition of their efforts.

Congratulations to Mitch Seavey on the win and to all the racers who have completed the race.

[Photo Credit: Loren Holmes]

25-year-old Dallas Seavey wins 2012 Iditarod

The 2012 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race came to an exciting end Tuesday evening when 25-year-old Dallas Seavey claimed victory in the 1000-mile race. By crossing the finish line first, he also became the youngest person to ever win the event.

Held annually in Alaska, the Iditarod has become the state’s most popular sporting event. The racers, along with their teams of powerful dogs, begin the race in Anchorage and follow a historical trail all the way to Nome. Back in 1925 that town faced a diphtheria epidemic and mushers raced along the same trail to deliver life-saving medicine in time. The modern day Iditarod commemorates that daring feat and salutes the men and their dogs who risked their lives to save others.

In order to win the event Seavey had to fend off plenty of competition from a tough and experienced field. In the end, he finished an hour ahead of second place musher Aliy Zirkle and while an hour may seem like a large gap, when you consider that the competitors have been racing for ten days straight, you realize that it is actually a narrow margin. Veteran musher Ramey Smyth arrived in Nome in third place after making a late charge to the front of the pack.For Seavey, dog sledding is a family affair. His father Mitch won the event back in 2004 and had a respectable seventh place finish this year. Grandfather Dan raced in the original Iditarod 40 years ago and as of this writing he is holding down the 52nd position in this years race as well. He is still a few days from reaching the finish line where he will undoubtedly give Dallas a proper congratulations.

Over the course of the next few days the last of the competitors will straggle across the finish line in Nome. For a full leaderboard and more information on the race visit Iditarod.com.

[Photo credit: Marc Lester/Anchorage Daily News)