Associated Press
Mike Williams Jr., currently in 11th place, hands his dog records to veterinarian Bruce Nwadike at the Nikolai checkpoint during the Iditarod.

Seavey Wins Second Iditarod Title, Williams Jr. Leading AK Native Contingent

Richard Walker
3/11/14

When night fell on March 10, the winner of the 2014 Iditarod was going to be Jeff King or Aliy Zirkle.

By morning, the positioning of the leaders had changed three times. And in the end, it was Dallas Seavey who was first across the finish line in Nome, Alaska, early March 11, proving that the Last Great Race is never over ‘til it’s over.

The previous evening, King was an hour ahead of Zirkle, en route to a fifth Iditarod victory. But gale-force gusts and blowing snow knocked Team King off the trail and stalled it 3.7 miles from Safety, the final checkpoint before Nome. After 2.5 hours, King sought help from a snowmachiner to get to Safety, where he scratched at 11:50 p.m.

Zirkle pushed on, arriving in Safety at 10:57 p.m., but was still waiting for the storm to subside when Seavey and his team of seven dogs caught up shortly after 1 a.m. Seavey stayed in Safety for only three minutes, then pushed on into the wind and snow toward Nome.

Zirkle checked out of Safety at 1:35 a.m., 19 minutes after Seavey, her 10 dogs having had the benefit of 2 hours and 38 minutes of rest. But she had waited too long.

Seavey crossed the finish line at 4:04 a.m. to win his second Iditarod. Zirkle crossed the finish line at 4:06. Both of them beat the Iditarod record set in 2011 by that year’s champ, John Baker, of 8 days 18 hours 46 minutes 39 seconds. Seavey’s overall time: 8d 13h 4m 19s. Zirkle: 8d 13h 6m 41s.

Zirkle, meanwhile, has the distinction of placing second in three consecutive Iditarods, each time behind a Seavey – Dallas in 2012 and 2014, and his father Mitch in 2013.

“Shocker,” Iditarod executive director Stan Hooley told the Anchorage Daily News about this year’s finish.

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