ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Feb 16 (Reuters) - A third-generation Iditarod musher from Alaska has won the less famous but more grueling Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race, that retraces gold-mining routes from the Klondike era.
Dallas Seavey, 23, of Willow, Alaska, finished the race at 11:05 p.m. local time on Tuesday to claim nearly $30,000 in prize money in his first running of the hotly contested Yukon Quest. He crossed the finish line in 10 days, 11 hours and 53 minutes.
German-born competitor Sebastian Schneulle, who now hails from Whitehorse in Canada’s Yukon territory, arrived 33 minutes later to garner second place.
Two more mushers — Ken Anderson and Brent Sass — reached Fairbanks early on Wednesday morning, and another 10 were still on the trail, according to race officials.
The Quest, which runs between Whitehorse and Fairbanks, has a reputation for being even tougher than the better-known Iditarod Sled Dog Race from Anchorage to Nome, and this year was especially difficult.
The musher who had been leading for much of the race, Hugh Neff, had to drop out after being rescued from a blizzard at the top of a mountain pass, where one of his dogs died. Another contender, 2010 champion Hans Gatt, dropped out after falling in a river and being rescued by Schneulle.
Twenty-five mushers started this year’s race on February 5 in Whitehorse. Harsh conditions forced many to drop out. Temperatures fell to 40 degrees below zero, and there were high winds, blowing snow and problems with broken ice.
Seavey is the son of 2004 Iditarod champion Mitch Seavey and the grandson of Dan Seavey, one of the competitors in the first two Iditarod races.
Seavey in 2005 was the youngest musher to ever race the Iditarod, turning 18 the day before the start of that year’s race. Since then he has run the Iditarod several times and in recent years has posted top-10 finishes.
The next Iditarod, a 1,150-mile race commemorating the 1925 delivery of serum for an outbreak of diphtheria in Nome, starts March 5 in Anchorage.
Editing by Steve Gorman and Greg McCune