At 4.04 am on Tuesday morning Alaskan Dallas Seavey was crowned champion of the 2014 Iditarod sled dog race. It took him 8 days, 13 hours, 4 minutes and 19 seconds to claim victory. Remarkably, runner up Aliy Zirkle was just 2 minutes and 22 seconds behind Seavey. It was the 2nd closest run Iditarod race in history after Dick Mackney won by a second in 1978.
If ‘Iditarod’ has got you slightly confused, it’s a massive sled dog race that runs from Anchorage to Nome in Alaska. Teams of mushers and 16 dogs cover a gruelling 1,000 mile route between the two cities.
The race typically takes 9-15 days to finish, so although it did take Seavey a while to complete, he did it in record time. The previous record was set by John Baker in 2011, finishing in 8 days, 18 hours and 46 minutes. Seavey also holds the record for youngest winner – he also won the race two years ago at the age of 25.
Fortune favoured Seavey, since the leader and four time champion Jeff King was leading in the last 77 miles. Unfortunately King found himself blown off course just miles from Nome, and had to retire despite having a safe lead of an hour. When Seavey crossed the line he was unaware of his victory, believing he’d come 3rd.
Many mushers are still out in the cold, fighting the harsh conditions. Seavey, on the other hand, will be enjoying banking a $50,000 victory cheque, a new truck and probably a very cosy spot next to the fire.