With 11 dogs in harness including Rev and Maple in lead, musher Lance Mackey rode into Nome, Alaska, at 2:59 p.m. Tuesday, passing under the burled arch and the Widow's Lamp hanging from it to win the 38th Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. As he crossed the line, Mackey, 39, raised his left fist in exuberance.
The Fairbanks musher also rode into the record books, becoming the first to win the "last great race on Earth" four times in a row.
"I had seven dogs who would go to the end of the earth for me and nine more who would try," Mackey told the Anchorage Daily News at the finish line. "I've got a lot of young superstars and a bright future with them.
Mackey covered the 1,112 miles of the Northern Route in 51 seconds shy of 9 days, the second-fastest winning time ever, earning him the top prize of $50,400 plus a new Dodge truck.
After days of sub-zero temperatures, long hours of darkness and likely little sleep, Mackey, as exhausted as he must be, is already thinking ahead.
"I'll probably be back next year," he added. "I don't see why not. I'm a little beat up, though. I can only be so tough so long."
Still on the trail are 56 other teams of the 71 which started. Once the last musher is off the trail, the Widow's Lamp will be extinguished, marking the end of another Iditarod.
-- Kelly Burgess
Photo: Lance Mackey holds two of his dogs, Rev and Maple, who wear rose garlands, after Mackey won his fourth consecutive Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race. Credit: Bob Hallinen / Anchorage Daily News / Associated Press
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