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57-Year-Old Becomes Oldest, Fastest Winner of Iditarod

Race fans crowd around the start chute of the 45th Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Fairbanks, Alaska, Monday, March 6, 2017. Photo: AP/Ellamarie Quimby
Race fans crowd around the start chute of the 45th Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Fairbanks, Alaska, Monday, March 6, 2017.

March 14, 2017 08:16 PM

A 57-year-old musher, Mitch Seavey, has become the oldest and fastest winner of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Seavey arrived in Nome, Alaska, on Tuesday to claim his third victory in the nearly 1,000-mile race across the Alaska wilderness. He also won in 2004 and 2013.

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He outran his son, defending champion Dallas Seavey. The elder Seavey said he didn't relish being runner-up the past two years.

RELATED: Father, Son Battle for Lead in Iditarod Race Across Alaska

The Seaveys have cemented their legacy as mushing royalty in Alaska. They have won the last six races. Mitch Seavey's dad, Dan, participated in the very first Iditarod in 1973.

Seavey set a new time record for the race, which the Iditarod said was 8 days, 3 hours, 40 minutes and 13 seconds. That shaved hours off the previous record set by Dallas Seavey last year at 8 days, 11 hours, 20 minutes and 16 seconds.

"Sweet" was the first words Mitch Seavey said after getting off the sled after the dogs pulled through the finish line under the famed burled arch.

His wife, Janine, greeted him with a hug. "Oh my gosh, look at what you've just done," she told him. "You've changed the sport."

After talking to his wife, Mitch Seavey then greeted each of the dogs on his team, and thanked them with a frozen snack. "Good dogs! Good dogs!" he said to the team.

Meanwhile, a fourth dog associated with this year's race has died.

Race marshal Mark Nordman says in a release that a 4-year-old male named Flash collapsed and died while it was running with Kotzebue musher Katherine Keith's team about 10 miles outside the checkpoint in Koyuk.

PHOTOS: Iditarod Dog Sled Race

Three other dogs have also died since the race started March 6 in Fairbanks, including one on a team belonging to Keith's partner, former champion John Baker of Kotzebue.

The dog had been dropped from Baker's team and returned to Anchorage. Iditarod officials released the dog to a handler Saturday, and the dog got loose later that night from the handler's home. The body was found Sunday in Anchorage, and it appeared it had been hit by a car.

RELATED: Iditarod Dogs Reach Checkpoint Without Their Dozing Musher

Two dogs died last week, including one that was being flown back to Anchorage from a checkpoint. A necropsy showed signs that the dog suffered from hyperthermia, but further tests were being conducted.

The other dog died near the checkpoint in Galena. A necropsy found abnormalities but not the cause of death.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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