Dallas Seavey [all photos courtesy of Loren Holmes; http://lorenholmes.com]
Last week, 25-year-old Dallas Seavey became the youngest musher ever to win the Iditarod. A third generation musher—his father and grandfather (one of the race’s founders) are past Iditarod champions—Seavey grew up dog sledding and completed his first race when he was five. When he crossed the finish line on March 13 in Nome, after nine days and 975 miles on the trail, he edged out Aliy Zirkle, 41, by one hour, one of the narrowest margins in race history.
Guest blogger Elizabeth Sullivan caught up with Seavey and Zirkle, while they were still in Nome, to find out how they got into the sport and how young mushers can, too.
Seavey & co on the go [photo: Loren Holmes]
What was it like to run such a close race? Truly a nail-biter!
Aliy Zirkle: With 22 miles left to go, I realized winning wasn’t a possibility. We could see Dallas but not quite catch up with him.
I imagine that was pretty bitter sweet.
AZ: Bitter [pause] sweet, you could say that [laughs].
What was it like the first time you went out on a dog sled?
AZ: This was about 20 years ago. I went out with a good friend on a four-mile loop out to the lake and back. I remember the lead dog’s name was Moses. I was hooked from the get-go. For me, it’s always been all about the dogs—the way they slide down the Yukon River and perk their ears up. They are gorgeous.