Dallas Seavey has become the youngest winner ever of the Last Great Race, the Iditarod dog-sled mush across Alaska.
I had five lead dogs on this team, and I had to have every single one of them to do their parts of the race, Seavey said, reported the Associated Press, shortly after crossing the finish line in Nome.
Seavey, who turned 25 on March 4, the day the race officially started, travelled for nine grueling days, four hours, 29 minutes and 26 seconds with nine dogs pulling his sled to the finish line approximately 7:29 p.m. Tuesday. After 1,000 miles from the starting point in Anchorage, Seavey and his dogs were exhausted.
It's just now hitting me, said Seavey, according to Reuters. About four miles ago, I just crashed.
The ice, combined with the frigid temperatures and windy conditions, forced many mushers to slow down. But Seavey's dog, Guinness, who acted as a lead dog for short time, kept trudging through the Alaskan wilderness.
I stopped in Rohn [a checkpoint], took her booties off so she'd have a little more traction, and we drove right there like I had a little remote control lead dog up front, Seavey said, according to the AP. She could have saved me hours in that one short stretch right there.
Seavey said he had a dog team that could not be stopped. But the dogs required patience, and being held them back during certain parts of the race.
By the end of the race, we were ready to start using that stored energy, Seavey said.
As he reached the Unalakleet checkpoint, he said it took power and determination to prevent rivals Aliy Zirkle and Aaron Burmeister from taking the lead.
They had phenomenal teams out there, Seavey said of his main competitors. I'm very impressed with those guys and excited to race with them in future years.
Zirkle was hoping to become the first woman to win the Iditarod since 1990, but she had to settle for second.
Dallas ran a really good race, Zirkle said. There's a lot of people who I'm sure are looking at all the Ps and Qs of how this race was run. I can tell you the one thing that Dallas and I did, we watched our dogs and we run our dogs, and I really respect that out of you, Dallas.
With this victory, Seavey becomes an Iditarod legacy. Both his father, Mitch Seavey and his grandfather, Dan, took part in this year's race. Mitch came in seventh while Dan has yet to finish. Reports indicate he is running in the back of the pack.
It's kind of what we do, Dallas Seavey said.
Seavey said his family is very competitive. While he wished his father had been there to see him cross the finish line, Seavey is happy he walked away with the grand prize: $50,400 cash prize and a new truck.
If I had to pick between being here first and having him here for the finish, I'll see him at Christmas, Dallas Seavey said.