Dallas Seavey wins fourth Iditarod crown, sets course record

Dallas Seavey won his third straight Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race early Tuesday morning, crossing under the burled arch on Front Street in Nome for his fourth overall title in the last five years.

Race announcers told Seavey that he had set a course record. Seavey said he spent the first two-thirds of the race “dead on my feet” and had never been so tired during a race.

“This was a heck of a trip, all the way from the start. It was up and down,” he said. “But we made it work.”

Dallas Seavey’s only loss was to his father, Mitch Seavey, in 2013. Mitch Seavey was on track to finish second later Tuesday morning.

The nearly 1,000-mile Iditarod started March 6 in Willow, Alaska, and took mushers across two mountain ranges, down the mighty Yukon River and along the wind-scoured Bering Sea coast.

Eighty-five mushers began the race, but 12 have so far scratched, including four-time champion Lance Mackey. He dropped out Monday, citing personal health concerns.

The Iditarod had its ceremonial start March 5 in Anchorage despite a lack of snow this winter in Alaska’s largest city. About seven train car loads of snow were shipped to Anchorage from Fairbanks, but ultimately were not used.

The competitive start of the race happened the next day, with 85 mushers taking off from frozen Willow Lake, about 50 miles north of Anchorage. Since then, 12 mushers have scratched, including a four-time champion. Lance Mackey left the race on Monday, citing concern for his personal health.

This year’s race was marred by a man accused of being intoxicated and purposely attacking two mushers on the trail near the checkpoint in Nulato.

Arnold Demoski of Nulato is accused of intentionally driving a snowmobile into musher Aliy Zirkle’s team and then the team of four-time Iditarod champion Jeff King. One of King’s dogs, Nash, was killed, and at least two other dogs were injured.

When Zirkle reached the checkpoint early Saturday morning, an Iditarod camera crew filmed a shaken Zirkle telling a race official: “Someone tried to kill me with a snowmachine.”

Alaskans use the term snowmachine for snowmobiles.

Demoski has said he was returning home from a night of drinking when he struck the teams.

He was charged with assault, reckless endangerment and reckless driving. His bail was set at $50,000, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

Fairbanks District Court Magistrate Dominick DiBenedetto said during Sunday’s hearing that if the allegations are proven true, they could amount to an act of terrorism. DiBenedetto also said he would have likely approved bail that 10 times the amount requested, KTVA-TV reported.

Demoski’s attorney, Bill Satterberg, declined comment to The Associated Press on Monday.

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