Last updated at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Mar. 15
Mitch Seavey glided into Nome with ease Tuesday, pulled by 11 of the 16 dogs he started the race with. This is the third Iditarod championship for the 57-year-old from Seward.
His official time was 8 days, 3 hours, 40 minutes and 13 seconds. He received a ceremonial check for $75,000 and a new Dodge Ram pickup truck. His official first place prize is $71,250, plus the $2,000 he won for reaching the Kaltag checkpoint first.
On an antitypical route to the Burled Arch on Front Street from Fairbanks, Mitch Seavey significantly shaved off race time from the 2015 race, which took the same route. In 2015, Dallas Seavey won the race in 8 days, 18 hours, 13 minutes and 6 seconds. Mitch pulled under the Burled Arch about four hours behind his son that year.
Dallas set a new Iditarod record in 2016, winning in 8 days, 11 hours, 20 minutes and 16 seconds. His dad pulled in an hour behind him.
This year, the elder Seavey shaved about seven hours and 40 minutes off his son’s 2016 record-setting finish.
Mitch Seavey was outwardly relaxed and confident through most of the this year’s trail, making it to the halfway point, Huslia, before his competitors. The only time he noted significant struggle was before hitting Koyuk when he hit glare ice, but he held on.
— Iditarod on KTVA (@IditarodKTVA) March 13, 2017
His team sprinted along the Norton Sound coast and moved at about 10 miles per hour, blowing through the final checkpoints and gaining a large swath of distance over his competitors.
Dallas Seavey, Wade Marrs and Nicolas Petit have been his biggest threats for most of the trail, but they just couldn’t keep up.
In Shaktoolik, Dallas Seavey said that he wouldn’t be doing anything “crazy” to catch his father. He said he didn’t want to break his dogs’ trust and wanted to continue to build for future years.
Marrs fell further behind in Unalakleet, where he arrived first. He laid down and woke back up, only to find out his competition had blown past.
Despite temperatures around minus 40 at the beginning of the race, weather conditions for this year’s Iditarod were nearly perfect — little to no wind on the Norton Sound and below freezing temperatures during the sun-filled days.
Dallas Seavey was about 25 miles back as his father pulled into Nome.