NOME, Alaska — Dallas Seavey rallied to win his second Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race championship in three years early Tuesday morning, mushing his team of seven dogs through a windstorm that knocked leader Jeff King out of the race and prompted Aliy Zirkle to hole up at the Safety checkpoint — 22 miles from the finish — for more than two hours.
Seavey, 26, jogged beside his sled down Nome’s Front Street to help his dogs, one hand on the sled and the other on a ski pole. After crossing the finish line, he sat down on the back of his sled and leaned his head on his handlebar, exhausted.
“How did you do it?” an Iditarod Insider videographer asked.
“What’d I do?”
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“You just won the Iditarod.”
“What? I thought that was my dad behind me. Where’s Jeff and Aliy?”
Seavey and his team set an Iditarod speed record, covering about 1,000 miles from Willow to Nome in 8 days, 13 hours, 4 minutes, 19 seconds. He shaved more than five hours off John Baker’s 2011 record of 8 days, 18 hours, 46 minutes, 39 seconds.
Seavey earned $50,000 and a new truck.
He beat Zirkle by 2 minutes, 22 seconds, ending a frenzied night of racing that saw the lead go from King to Zirkle to Seavey in less than three hours.
Dallas became the race’s youngest winner in 2012, and father Mitch became the race’s oldest winner last year when he won his second title.
During that same period, second place has belonged to Zirkle, 44, a fan favorite seeking to be the first woman to win in 24 years.
Zirkle, driving a team of 10 dogs, posted her third consecutive runner-up showing.
“I know all the women are going for Aliy,” Dallas Seavey said, “and probably half the men.”