Son unseats father to win Alaska's Iditarod dog sled race

Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:12pm EDT
 
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By Steve Quinn

JUNEAU, Alaska (Reuters) - Dallas Seavey won his second Iditarod sled-dog race in three years on Tuesday, unseating his father, Mitch, as defending champion while breaking the race's three-year-old record.

The 26-year-old Seavey and his canine team finished the 42nd annual, 1,000-mile race through the Alaskan tundra and into the coastal community of Nome in 8 days, 13 hours, 4 minutes and 19 seconds.

High winds whirled snow over the final stretch of the race, compelling leader and four-time champion Jeff King to drop out just 25 miles from the finish line of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

The punishing round-the-clock marathon commemorates a rescue mission that carried diphtheria serum by sled-dog relay to Nome in 1925. While most competitors are from Alaska, the race has drawn entrants from as far away as Norway, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Sweden and Jamaica.

Seavey's win breaks John Baker's 2011 record by more than five hours. For Seavey, of Willow, Alaska, it was his sixth straight top-10 finish.

"It means my dad only had bragging rights for a year," Seavey told the crowd after being declared the winner. "It means that we are doing things right. It means once again that I've had the honor of driving the best dog team in the world."

Seavey's effort was also just enough to edge 44-year-old Aliy Zirkle, who claimed her third consecutive runner-up finish.

Zirkle, of Two Rivers, Alaska, was just over two minutes away from becoming the first woman in more than two decades to win.   Continued...

 
Dallas Seavey runs with his lead dog after greeting the crowd gathered at the finish line at 4am after winning the Iditarod dog sled race in Nome, Alaska, March 11, 2014. REUTERS/Nathaniel Wilder