Michi Konno's dream was realized Thursday. The 55-year-old rookie made it to the Burled Arch in Nome pulling in with eight dogs at 3:35 pm.

But, his journey began long ago. The Japanese musher moved to Alaska in 1999, eventually settling in Willow. He enjoyed some early success in 1998 taking first place in the North American. Then he sold off his kennel, which included 70 sprint dogs, and began work as a tour guide while touring the western national parks.

But, he came back; it happens a lot.

Thursday, Burled Arch memories of the late Joee Redington Jr. came flooding to him. Redington Jr. had a profound influence on Konno and his decision to run the Iditarod.

How would Konno quantify his 11-day experience?

"Clean, joy, and happy. Dogs are happy, too. I'm the happiest."

Konno has joined elite company-- he's just made it to Nome. He has reason to smile.

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