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Veteran Iditarod musher Mitch Seavey of Seward, Alaska, was first across the finish line in Nome, Alaska on Tuesday, claiming his third Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race championship and smashing not one, but two race records in the process!
Seavey had 11 dogs in harness when he reached Nome and claimed the Iditarod 2017 title in record time, beating his son, Dallas Seavey’s 2016 record time finish by more than seven hours.
In addition to holding the race record for fastest winning, Mitch also holds the record for being the oldest Iditarod champion at age 57.
Seavey’s team traveled the nearly 1,000-mile trail from Fairbanks to Nome in eight days, three hours, 40 minutes and 13 seconds. A family of champions, Mitch won his first Iditarod in 2004, and along with his son, the Seavey’s have claimed the last six Iditarod sled dog race wins.
Fans from all over the world lined Front Street to greet Seavey and his dog team as they pulled through the famed burled arch on a clear afternoon in Nome.
Watch the full, exciting race finish right here:
The Alaska Dispatch News interviewed Seavey after the race:
“‘They love speed,’ Seavey said of his sled dogs. ‘I think it frustrated them to go too slow, so I just let ’em roll. It was scary because I’ve never gone that far that fast ever, but that’s what they wanted to do and maybe it’s a new chapter.’
Seavey’s team recorded 10 and 11 mph runs and the separation he built over other racers gave him the flexibility to bank generous rest for his dogs, and himself, as they moved up the Norton Sound coast in the race’s final days.
‘They only know one thing and that’s 9.5 to 10 mph and they hit their feet, and they hit their speed and that’s what they do. And they trusted me to stop them when they needed to be stopped, and feed them, and I did that, and they gave me all they could. But I guarantee they’re tired now,’ said the new champion.”
With the victory, Seavey was awarded a $75,000 check and a new truck. Mushers currently on the Iditarod trail will continue their trek to Nome and finish under the iconic archway in the hours and days to come.