NOME, Alaska — Dallas Seavey won the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday evening, becoming the youngest musher to win the nearly 1,000-mile race across Alaska.
Seavey turned 25 on March 4, the day the race officially started north of Anchorage. He was the first musher to reach Nome, his nine dogs trotting into the Bering Sea coastal community at 7:29 p.m. Tuesday.
The winner greeted family and friends briefly, then turned to hug his dogs.
"They mean the world to me," Seavey said.
He finished in nine days, four hours and 29 minutes.
The previous youngest winner was the race's only five-time champion, Rick Swenson, who won his first Iditarod at the age of 26 in 1977. Swenson, now 61, is in this year's race, and was running in the middle of the pack.
It's a family affair for the Seaveys. Dallas' father, Mitch, 52, won the race in 2004. This year, Dallas' 74-year-old grandfather, Dan, is running in his fifth Iditarod to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Iditarod Trail. His trip to Nome is being sponsored by the Iditarod Historic Trail Alliance to highlight the rich history of the trail.
Two of 1978 winner Dick Mackey's sons have also won, Rick Mackey in 1983 and Lance Mackey from 2007-2010.
Dallas Seavey was the first musher to leave White Mountain after completing a mandatory eight-hour layover to rest his dogs. The second musher out was Aliy Zirkle, and Seavey maintained his lead for the last 77 miles of the trail from White Mountain to the finish line in Nome.
Dallas Seavey has been described by his father as "fiercely competitive." The former Alaska high school wrestling champion, who also spent a year at the U.S. Olympic Training Center before turning his attention back to dogs, was the first musher to reach the White Mountain checkpoint at 12:14 a.m. Alaska time.
Sixty-six teams began the race on March 4. Eleven mushers have scratched, including the latest, Tom Thurston of Oak Creek, Colo. He left the race Tuesday afternoon in Unalakleet over concern for his dogs. He was down to eight dogs when he scratched.
Among the 55 mushers left on the trail are 12 rookies. Brent Sass is doing the best among the rookies, at 13th place on Tuesday.