• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
3m 7s

Jason Mackey continues to strive for greatness

By Heather Hintze 11:18 PM March 16, 2017

Many mushers have set personal records this year, finishing the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in their best times ever. That includes Nenana musher Jason Mackey, who shaved about 21 hours off his finish time from last year.

Mackey finished just shy of the top 20, but had even higher goals for himself at the beginning of the race.

Through the excitement of the ceremonial start in Anchorage, he seemed calm and confident.

“This team can win,” Mackey said. “Hands down, it’s the nicest team I’ve ever drove.”

Noticeably absent from the field this year was Mackey’s brother, four-time Iditarod champion Lance Mackey, who said it was difficult for him to be at the Anchorage celebration.

“This is where my heart is at, this is something I love to do as much or more than anyone on this planet,” Lance Mackey said. “It’s hard to be here with the people I’m used to being around.”


Lance Mackey made the decision not to run the Iditarod a few months ago, citing concern for his hands, which have been impacted severely by Raynaud’s disease that makes them extremely sensitive to the cold.

“It’s emotional for him, it’s emotional for me, for the whole family, his fans,” Jason Mackey said. “He is tough, but he’s only human.”

As Jason Mackey began his journey to Nome, he knew right away his team had speed.

Jason Mackey leaves the Unalakleet checkpoint. (David Poyzer / KTVA)

“These guys want to move,” he said in an interview in Manley Hot Springs, the second checkpoint. “The vets went over them, twisting, pulling, wrenching on them and everyone is sound. So they’re moving sound. They’re 100 percent.”

He pulled toward the head of the pack—14th in to Tanana, sixth into Ruby, eighth to Galena.

“Its time to slow them down,” Jason Mackey said in Tanana. “I’m where I want to be. I’m up front, that was important to get in this front group now I can just maintain it.”

He soon realized his dogs might be going too fast. He said the team was not prepared to stay at the front and “it was either back off in Nulato or take them to the airport and that wasn’t an option,” Jason Mackey said.

“To keep that momentum going and that speed, that’s how you have to train, and I don’t train like that,” he laughed. “I knew the team had speed, just as much speed as anyone’s and it would have been great had the race only been 600 miles.”

His team made it the full 1,000 miles to Nome, just not as quickly as he’d hoped. Jason Mackey crossed the burled arch in nine days, six hours and 19 minutes — his best finish yet.

“It was a good race,” he said. “I anticipated a little bit more but next year I will be prepared.”

Jason Mackey’s dream is to be an Iditarod champion and he said with a new training schedule, he expects to be a top contender once again.

KTVA 11’s Heather Hintze can be reached via email or on Facebook and Twitter.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Memorial Day a weekend-long affair for Alaska Vets Motorcycle Club

    by Heather Hintze on May 29, 19:41

    For members of the Alaska Vets Motorcycle Club, Memorial Day isn’t just a Monday off from work; it’s a weekend-long celebration to remember the fallen. On Sunday, hundreds of bikers from around the state met at Mary’s McKinley View Lodge then road the Parks Highway to the Alaska Veterans Memorial. They’ve been doing the Byers […]

  • Sports

    Sports writer loses job over tweet on Japanese Indy winner

    by Associated Press on May 29, 16:52

    DENVER (AP) – A veteran sports writer is no longer working with The Denver Post after he posted on Twitter that he was “uncomfortable with a Japanese driver winning the Indianapolis 500 during Memorial Day weekend.” Terry Frei sent the tweet after Takuma Sato on Sunday became the first Japanese driver to win the race. […]

  • News

    First cruise ship of the summer docks at Port of Anchorage

    by Lauren Maxwell on May 29, 16:42

    The first cruise ship to dock at the Port of Anchorage this summer pulled into town early Monday morning. Nearly 1,400 passengers disembarked from Holland America’s ‘Amsterdam’ to check out the sights before an 11 p.m. call to be back on the ship. Julie Saupe, president of Visit Anchorage, said the cruise industry in the […]

  • News

    Volunteers place markers in Anchorage cemetery to honor fallen soldiers

    by Dave Leval on May 29, 15:43

    Wenda Sudduth and others from American Legion Post 1 found the going not so easy at Anchorage’s Memorial Park Cemetery. They went on a quest Sunday to pay tribute some of our nation’s most honored dead. They placed religious markers at the grave sites of those who served in the nation’s military. “I come from a […]

  • News

    Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says Denali name should remain

    by Associated Press on May 29, 10:58

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says the name for America’s tallest mountain should remain Denali. The News-Miner reports that he spoke at the Fairbanks International Airport late Saturday on his way to a Memorial Day ceremony in Denali State Park. The peak was once called Mount McKinley, named after President William McKinley. […]

  • Police: Tiger Woods arrested in Florida for DUI

    by Associated Press on May 29, 10:52

    JUPITER, Fla. (AP) – Tiger Woods says an unexpected reaction to prescription medicine led to his arrest on a DUI charge in Florida. Woods spent nearly four hours in the Palm Beach County Jail after being arrested early Monday on suspicion of DUI. The 14-time major champion says in a statement that alcohol wasn’t involved. […]

  • News

    Interior Secretary Zinke focuses on energy, parks during Alaska visit

    by Heather Hintze on May 29, 10:29

    Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is in Alaska for his first visit to the state since his confirmation to the position in March. His first public appearance included a ride to the Alaska Veteran’s Memorial on the George Parks Highway with the Alaska Vets Motorcycle Club for their 29th annual Memorial Run. “I think it’s important on […]

  • News

    North Korea launches short-range ballistic missile, U.S. military says

    by CBS News on May 28, 19:06

    North Korea on Sunday launched a short-range ballistic missile, the U.S. Pacific Command said. The missile was tracked for six minutes until it landed in the Sea of Japan, the U.S. Pacific Command said. The White House said President Trump had been briefed on the launch. This is the ninth missile test North Korea has […]