Seavey now has the most Iditarod wins, but Alaska’s historic race is marred by 3 sled dog deaths

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Alaska’s yearly Iditarod canine sled race ended pinch a triumph for nan ages: One of nan biggest names successful nan athletics came from down aft a moose onslaught to triumph nan grueling, dayslong title for an unprecedented sixth time.

But Dallas Seavey’s record-setting triumph precocious Tuesday was overshadowed by the deaths of 3 dogs in this year’s storied endurance title crossed nan Alaska wilderness, and renewed calls from an animal authorities group to extremity nan race. A 4th dog, 1 of Seavey’s, was severely injured by a moose on nan trail.

Seavey, 37, vanished nan 51st Iditarod successful 9 days, 2 hours, 16 minutes and 8 seconds and won conscionable complete $55,000 for first place. As he neared nan decorativeness line, he jumped disconnected his sled and ran pinch his dogs, pumping his fists. After he reached nan decorativeness line, he hugged each canine connected his squad — and they gave him sloppy canine kisses arsenic they sat connected nan winner’s podium.

“This 1 was expected to beryllium hard,” Seavey told nan crowd. “It had to beryllium special, it had to beryllium much than conscionable a normal Iditarod, and for me, it was.”

The Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race takes human-and-dog teams crossed 1,000 miles of wilderness connected a way that traverses 2 upland ranges, nan Yukon River and a portion of nan stiff Bering Sea earlier ending successful nan Gold Rush municipality of Nome conscionable southbound of nan Arctic Circle.

But nan deaths of nan dogs connected 3 abstracted teams, 2 led by rookie mushers and a 3rd successful his 2nd Iditarod, formed a pall complete nan title arsenic nan Iditarod ended a five-year streak without a canine death. Five dogs besides died and 8 were injured in collisions pinch snowfall machines during training earlier nan title connected shared-use trails.

People for nan Ethical Treatment of Animals, nan loudest professional of nan Iditarod, called for officials to extremity nan title erstwhile and for all.

“The Iditarod is nan shame of Alaska,” PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman said successful a statement. “How galore much dogs request to dice earlier this stops? Dogs’ lives are worthy much than this.”

The Iditarod did not instantly respond to a petition for comment.

Mushers Issac Teaford, of Salt Lake City, and Hunter Keefe, of Knik, some voluntarily discontinue nan people aft their dogs died, aliases they would person risked being removed by nan title marshal, per Iditarod rules.

The 3rd canine connected rookie Calvin Daugherty’s squad collapsed connected nan way astir 10 miles earlier reaching nan checkpoint successful nan colony of Shaktoolik. A necropsy is planned, and Daugherty besides scratched.

A moose severely injured 1 of Seavey’s dogs successful an onslaught connected nan way early on. Seavey changeable and killed nan moose pinch a handgun and gutted it. Race rules require immoderate large crippled animal killed successful defense of life aliases spot to beryllium gutted earlier nan musher moves on. But because he spent only 10 minutes gutting nan moose, title officials gave Seavey a two-hour clip penalty.

Seavey and his squad battled back, and by Tuesday greeting they had a three-hour lead complete their nearest competitor earlier sweeping to triumph later successful nan day.

“When you look backmost astatine 1,000 miles of what these dogs conscionable covered, nan challenges they faced, you can’t swallow that successful 1 bite, but we tin person 1 bully measurement astatine a time,” he said of his dogs. “And if you tin support doing that, it leads to something.”

Seavey’s sanction is recovered passim nan Iditarod grounds book. In 2005, he became nan youngest musher to tally successful nan race, and successful 2012, its youngest champion.

Seavey besides won Iditarod championships successful 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2021. He had antecedently been tied pinch now-retired musher Rick Swenson pinch 5 titles apiece. Swenson won nan Iditarod successful 1977, 1979, 1981, 1982 and 1991.

Seavey’s family history is profoundly entwined pinch nan Iditarod. His grandfather, Dan Seavey, helped shape and ran nan first Iditarod successful 1973, and his father, Mitch Seavey, is simply a three-time champion.

Dallas Seavey almost took a different way successful nan sports world. He was nan first Alaskan to triumph a USA nationalist wrestling title erstwhile he took nan 125-pound Gregco-Roman title successful 2003 and trained for a twelvemonth astatine nan U.S. Olympic Training Center earlier concussions led him to backmost to mushing.

The Iditarod started March 2 for 38 mushers pinch a ceremonial tally successful Anchorage, followed by nan competitory commencement connected March 3 successful Willow, astir 75 miles northbound of Anchorage. Seven mushers dropped retired of nan title this year.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press