The 42nd running of the Iditarod was as wild and unpredictable as any in recent memory due to inclement weather, but Dallas Seavey ultimately persevered to win his second Iditarod title in three years.
According to Casey Grove, Beth Bragg and Kyle Hopkins of the Anchorage Daily News, the 26-year-old Seavey finished the race in Nome, Alaska, in a record-breaking time of 8 days, 13 hours, 4 minutes and 19 seconds.
That placed him in first just two minutes and 22 seconds ahead of Aliy Zirkle, which is the second-smallest margin of victory in the history of the Iditarod.
Seavey's come-from-behind victory was made possible after Zirkle stayed in Safety, Alaska, for two hours due to the terrible conditions. Also, Jeff King, who entered the final day with the lead, scratched with the end of the race on the horizon, according to The Associated Press:
BREAKING: Four-time Iditarod champion Jeff King scratches about 25 miles from finish line.— The Associated Press (@AP) March 11, 2014
Per Grove, Bragg and Hopkins, King's sled was blown off the trail, which caused him and his dogs to remain stationary for two-and-a-half hours.
As heartbreaking as the loss was for King, it may have been even tougher for Zirkle, who has now finished second at the Iditarod on three occasions. Despite obviously wanting to win the race, Zirkle felt as though staying put in Safety was the best decision for herself and her dogs.
"It was really, really bad out there, and it was the safest thing for me to do, to get my act together," Zirkle said, per the Daily News.
Zirkle's loss was Seavey's gain as the two-time champion celebrated with his dogs following the victory, as seen in this photo courtesy of the Daily News:
With Seavey's 2014 triumph, a Seavey has now won the Iditarod in three consecutive years. In addition to Seavey's wins this year and in 2012, his father, Mitch Seavey, won for the second time in 2013. Mitch finished third behind his son and Zirkle this year.
Although it doesn't receive as much respect as most mainstream sports, the mushers and their dogs deserve a ton of credit for braving some of the toughest elements known to man. Seavey took a calculated risk when it came to going through Safety in an effort to win the race, and it ultimately paid off.
Regardless of the results, all of those who participated showed their toughness, will and determination throughout.
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