The 1,000-Mile Iditarod Sled Dog Race Came Down to Just a Two-Minute Difference

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After 1,000 miles of mushing across Alaska's barren ice, Dallas Seavey is your new Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race champion, besting the annual endurance race in record time. Seavey's lime of 8 days, 13 hours, 4 minutes, and 19 seconds was enough to squeak past second-place finisher Aliy Zirkle by 2 minutes and 22 seconds, an exceptionally close finish for such a long race. All the of the top three finishers would have broken the previous record.

The win, Seavey's second, makes him top dog within his family, as Dallas beat his father and last year's champion Mitch Seavey. "It means my dad only had bragging rights for a year," Seavey told the crowd afterward, according to Reuters.

Subject to the whims of the Alaskan tundra, Seavey needed a little luck to take the title. Both four-time winner Jeff King and Zirkle were ahead of Seavey entering the final legs of the race, but wicked gusts of wind knocked King off course, forcing him to drop out with just 25 miles to go. Zirkle was forced to wait out the storm rather than attempt to battle the winds, which allowed Dallas Seavey to overcome a three-hour deficit over the last 77 miles.

The annual Iditarod race commemorates the 1925 trek to provide the far-flung city of Nome with the diphtheria serum, notably covered in the Disney movie Balto. There were 69 mushers who entered this year's race, each with a team of 16 dogs. At least 18 of those teams were forced to drop out of the race due to the harsh conditions.

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But enough about the humans. Let's give it up for the real heroes of this race: the sled dogs themselves.

Aliy Zirkle and her dogs as the race began last week (Reuters/Nathaniel Wilder).
Aliy Zirkle and two team members (Reuters/Nathaniel Wilder).
Champion Dallas Seavey poses with two of his championship team (Reuters/Nathaniel Wilder).
The sled dogs that pulled contestant John Baker (Reuters/Nathaniel Wilder).
Dogs led by Justin Savidis poked their heads out of the musher lot before the race (Reuters/Nathaniel Wilder).
(Reuters/Nathaniel Wilder)

And a closer look on that last one, for good measure.

(Reuters/Nathaniel Wilder)


This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.