Mackey wins third Iditarod
Lance Mackey crossed the finish line of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race at 11:38 a.m. today (Alaska time) to capture his third straight victory in the 1,100-mile race, according to the Anchorage Daily News.
“It’s done,” he said. “It’s amazing, absolutely amazing.”
The race was marred by the deaths of two more dogs. In addition to a dog on musher Jeff Holt’s team that died last week, two dogs on the team of rookie Lou Packer of Wasilla apparently froze to death. Packer scratched after being found Monday 22 miles past the Iditarod checkpoint by searchers in a plane.
Mackey became the third musher to win three Iditarods in a row, joining Montanan Doug Swingley and the late Susan Butcher.
Mackey had a huge lead after leaving White Mountain, 77 miles from the finish line in Nome. In White Mountain, he received a hug of congratulations from his mother, and turned to his dogs, according to the Associated Press.
“They’re superstars,” he told her.
Only Sebastian Schnuelle and John Baker were anywhere close to Mackey, but they were still hours behind Mackey, ahead of a storm that trapped other mushers farther back on the trail.
Thirteen mushers, including four-time champions Jeff King and Martin Buser, were holed up at the checkpoint in Shaktoolik, stopped by 40 mile-per-hour winds and a wind chill driving temperatures to more than 50 below. Temperatures were expected to be even colder Tuesday night.
Sixty-seven teams began the race more than a week ago in Willow, about 50 miles north of Anchorage. Nine teams have either scratched or been withdrawn.