Just after 4 a.m. today in Nome, Alaska, Dallas Seavey crossed the finish line at the 2014 Iditarod dogsled race and wondered why so many people had stuck around to see the third-place finisher. Seavey soon realized he had unknowingly passed leaders Jeff King and Aliy Zirkle sometime during the night. He won this year's race in a record 8 days, 13 hours, 4 minutes, and 19 seconds. A fitting end to one of the most challenging races in Iditarod history, Seavey beat out King, Zirkle, and his father, Mitch, for his second Iditarod victory.
King started the final 77-mile stage nearly an hour in front of Zirkle and some three hours in front of Seavey. But when a storm hit on Monday night, King’s sled was blown into a pile of driftwood roughly 26 miles from the finish. He was able to gather his team, but the dogs refused to run. He waited there in the storm for more than two hours before waving down a snowmobile and scratching from the race.
Zirkle decided to stop at a safety checkpoint 22 miles from the finish line. She had passed King but had no idea. With a hurting dog team and frostbit hands, Zirkle stopped to wait out the weather for more than two hours.
Meanwhile, Seavey chose to push his young team through the storm for experience, thinking of years to come. He sped through the safety checkpoint as the rested Zirkle watched him go by.
"I wasn't in a big hurry. I was racing for third," Seavey said. "I was telling my dogs, 'We've done our work here. You guys have done a good job. Let's go home.'" The champ reportedly even stopped to take a few selfies as the sun went down.
Zirkle left the safety checkpoint 19 minutes after she watched Seavey go by. She crossed the finish line just two minutes behind him. It was Zirkle's third consecutive second-place finish after losing to Seavey in 2012 and his father, Mitch, in 2013.
Seavey takes home a $50,000 check and a new truck for his first-place finish.