The 2014 Iditarod Tail Sled Dog Race came crowned a new champion last night when Dallas Seavey crossed the finish line in Nome 11:04 PM local time. This is the second championship for Seavey, who became the youngest person ever to win the race back in 2012. He finished just two minutes ahead of Aliy Zirkle, who has now ended the race in second place three years in a row.
Seavey’s win seemed highly improbable heading into the final stages of the race. He was more than three hours behind Zirkle and four-time champ Jeff King out of the checkpoint at Elim. But high winds forced King to scratch on the way into Safety, the final CP before the finish in Nome. It was during that stage that Zirkle actually took the lead and seemed poised to finally claim victory. But Seavey blasted through Safety while she rested her team, and continued on to victory in Nome. He managed to hold off Zirkle’s late charge with just seven dogs remaining on his team, while Aliy pursued him with ten.
The second place finish only adds to Zirkle’s frustration with coming up just short in the race. Not only did she lose to Dallas in 2012, she finished second to his father Mitch last year as well. No matter the outcome though, Aliy has established herself as one of the top mushers in the Iditarod, and it seems like only a matter of time before she breaks through and claims a win of her own.
As of this writing, Dallas and Aliy are the only two mushers into Nome. Currently in third place is Mitch Seavey, who is out of Safety and on his way to the finish line himself. He holds a comfortable lead over Joar Leifseth Ulsom and Sonny Lindner, who are running in fourth and fifth place
The race won’t end just because a winner is crowned. There are still 49 other mushers out on the course, and most will still try to make it to Nome if they can. Finishing this 1000-mile long race is an accomplishment in and of itself, and the racers take great pride in doing just that. Most will trickle across the finish line over the next day or two, but for some there are still hundreds of miles to go. In the true spirit of Alaska, the won’t give up until they’ve completed the trail.
Congratulations to Dallas Seavey on the big win and claiming his second Iditarod championship. This young man will probably be winning a few more titles before his career is done.
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