Mushers and their sled-dog teams tackled almost 1,000 miles of wilderness in the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, one of the sporting world's most fabled annual events, and it was 27-year-old Dallas Seavey that took home his second career victory.
The test of endurance officially began on March 2 and culminated with a wild drag race to the finish line on March 11. Fan favorite Aliy Zirkle was forced to settle for a second-place finish.
Speaking of the course, warm weather caused a bit of controversy this year at the event. According to Beth Bragg of the Anchorage Daily News (account required), the abnormal weather returned for the race:
Ice, open water, soft snow and no snow await dog teams as they begin the race to Nome this weekend. High temperatures -- which in early February threatened to move the start of the race north to Fairbanks -- returned with a vengeance Thursday and could compromise several weeks' worth of volunteer labor on the trail.
Despite the weather, 69 sleds started the race in hopes of earning a heavier portion of the $650,000 prize pool. This year was especially exciting as almost a fourth of the participants were rookies.
Now two-time champion Seavey helped to explain what makes the race itself so special before the event began, via Steve Quinn of Reuters:
The unique thing about the Iditarod is there is no norm. It's not like NASCAR racing cars going around a track. You and your dogs are overcoming tremendous variables and adversity. That's what this race is about.
Seavey will be honored on March 16 at the awards banquet. Iditarod mushers and fans will need that down time to recover from such a wild finish.