Mitch Seavey, 53, became the oldest person to win Alaska’s Iditarod dog race.
Seavey, who also won the Iditarod in 2004, finished the course in 9 days, 7 hours, 39 minutes, and 56 seconds. Aliy Zirkle finished in second, 24 minutes behind the oldest winner in history.
Zirkle, who was hoping to become the first woman to win the race since 1990, attributed Seavey’s win to his experience.
Zirkle said, “You did a good job … You’re going to win this thing, probably more than once … Mitch has this ability to sit on the sidelines and refuel because he knows he needs to refuel, while everyone else is zooming by. It’s smart, and that’s probably why you won.”
After Seavey and his 10 dogs crossed the line at about 10:39 pm local time last night, he said: “This is for all of the gentlemen of a certain age.”
Heavey wasn’t the only old-timer in the race this year. Jeff King, a four time winner, ran toward the front of the pack during this year’s Iditarod. According to spokeswoman Erin McLarnon, the top racer’s last year were mostly composed of young men and women.
McLarnon said, “Last year, we saw a lot of those youngsters in the top 10 … Some of those 45-plussers are taking back the lead this year. They are showing the young ‘uns what they can really do out there on that trail.”
Seavey will walk away from the Iditarod this year with $50,400 and a new 2013 Dodge Ram truck. The top 30 mushers will split the remainder of the $600,000 purse.
Seavey achieved the fastest time this year but his 9 day, 7 hour pace was well behind the fastest time in history. John Baker won the Iditarod in 2011 in just 8 days, 18 hours, 46 minutes, and 39 seconds.
Mitch’s win this year means that the Seavey family now holds the record for oldest and youngest winners. His son, Dallas Seavey, became the youngest person in history to win the race when he crossed the finish line last year at the age of 25.