2016 Iditarod was crowned earlier this morning when 29-year old Dallas Seavey crossed the finish line at 2:20 AM local time. For Seavey, it was his third win in a row, and fourth overall, putting him in great company with a few elite mushers who have managed to win "the Last Great Race" that many times. He also managed to reach Nome in record time.
Dallas managed to finish 45 minutes ahead of his father – Mitch – who came into Nome at 3:05 local time as well. The duo are the only two mushers to have completed the race thus far. At this point, it looks like Brent Sass will likely take third place, as he held a more than a four hour lead over Aliy Zirkle in the battle for third place.
The Seavey family now hold six titles when you include Mitch's two wins. Mushing clearly runs in the family, as Dallas' grandfather Dan was one of the competitors in the first Iditarod, which took place back in 1973.
This time out, Dallas used a bit of different strategy. He allowed his dogs to rest more in the early days of the race, holding them back some to conserve energy for the stretch run. He took his mandatory 24-hour rest in Cripple, where a number of other teams did the same. But after that, he was off and running, and soon was in a familiar place at the top of the leaderboard with only his dad and Sass offering much competition. By the time he reached the coast, it became apparent that it was going to take a monumental effort to try to catch him. In the end, Dallas covered the 975 mile (1569 km) course – running from Anchorage to Nome – in just 8 days, 11 hours, 20 minutes. That breaks his own record set back in 2014.
In winning this year's race, Dallas joins the elite company of seven racers who have four or more wins. That list includes Susan Butcher, Martin Buser, Lance Mackey, Doug Swingley, and Jeff King with four wins each, and Rick Swenson who stands alone with five victories.
Congratulations to Dallas on another impressive win, and good luck to the remaining competitors out on the course. Most will still take a number of days to reach the finish, with a lot of racing yet to come.