Mitch Seavey became the oldest musher ever to win the Iditarod – “The Last Great Race on Earth” (not including the the Yukon Quest, according to some) – when the 53-year-old crossed the finish line in Nome, Alaska ahead of the rest of the pack earlier this week.
“This is for all of the gentlemen of a certain age,” Seavey remarked, upon winning the 1,000-mile race in 9 days, 7 hours, and 39 minutes.
Mitch’s son, Dallas, became the youngest to win the race last year, at age 25. Taken together, the two make the Seavey family something of Iditarod legend.
(To learn more about the Seavey family, and their dogs, and mushing in general, check out the video below:)
“Seavey’s victory came after a dueling sprint against Aliy Zirkle, last year’s runner-up, along the frozen, wind-whipped Bering Sea coast. Zirkle crossed the finish line 24 minutes after her rival,” the Associated Press reports. “Immediately after finishing, both mushers rushed to pet their dogs, with Seavey singling out his main leader, 6-year-old Tanner, posing for photos with the dog and another leader, Taurus, wearing yellow garlands.”
“You did a good job,” Seavey said to Zirkle, after crossing the finish line 24 minutes ahead of the female musher. “You’re going to win this thing, probably more than once.”
It was the second Iditarod victory for Mitch Seavey, who first won in 2004.
The Iditarod is run every year in honor of the sled dogs who brought medicine to the ice-bound town of Nome, which was experiencing a diphtheria epidemic in the winter of 1925 (see “Perfect Winter Storm Reading: The Cruelest Miles,” Free Sport, 2/8/13).