Victoria Hardwick crosses Iditarod finish line, wins Red Lantern Award
Victoria Hardwick, the 33-year-old rookie musher from Bethel, was the last to make it to Nome at 1:51 p.m. Monday, winning the Red Lantern Award for the 2019 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
Hardwick arrived at the burled arch with nine dogs in harness. She finished the race in 14 days, 22 hours and 51 minutes. Iditarod.com standings show her average speed was 2.75 miles per hour.
According to Hardwick's Iditarod.com biography, she spent almost all of her time growing up going on adventures with her childhood dog, Beau. She eventually moved to Alaska and started mushing sled dogs in 2014.
The Red Lantern Award goes to the last musher across the finish line each year. According to a press release from the Iditarod, it acts as a symbol of perseverance.
The award will be presented to Hardwick in Nome at 6 p.m. during the Red Lantern Award banquet at the Nome Mini Convention Center.
Now that the last musher on the trail has crossed the finish line, the star on the side of the mountain near Arctic Valley will be turned off.
When asked if she'd run another Iditarod, Hardwick said if she did, she'd do a lot of things differently.
"I probably wouldn't load my sled with all the extra things," she said. "I got lists from everyone of what you need to put in a sled and I made sure every single item on those lists were in my sled and I couldn't even, like, satchel it down at the end. So, now it's got a lot of space in it, but I wish I had learned that before I started."
At the finish line, Hardwick said the trail was rough, but she's glad she made it to Nome.
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