You already know the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race — the famously grueling yearly trek across Alaska that’s become something of a legend. Any winner immediately becomes the epitome of endurance, so when the oldest winner ever takes the prize it’s worth taking note.
Mitch Seavey has just filled that slot at the age of 53, and he knocked out the 1,000 mile race in only 9 days, 7 hours and 39 minutes. Here’s everything you need to know about the oldest Iditarod winner ever.
1. It’s Not His First Win
Mitch won his first Iditarod in 2004, and he’s only been improving himself in the interim. He and his 10 dogs have crossed the finish line in Nome many times before, but they’ve obviously picked up their pace enough to carry the oldest winner ever through once again.
2. His Son Was The Youngest Winner Ever
Last year, Mitch’s son Dallas Seavey became the youngest Iditarod winner ever at only 25 years old. Mushing seems to run in the family, as the skill-intensive racing has been a part of many generations of Seaveys. This could be the next chapter of a winning dynasty — let’s see how long they can keep these wins in the family.
3. He’s Strategic
Even Aliy Zirkle, who crossed the finish line just 24 minutes after Seavey, gave him credit for his strategically minded methods in the race. She told the AP:
Mitch has this ability to sit on the sidelines and refuel because he knows he needs to refuel, while everyone else is zooming by.
4. He’s Been Mushing Since the ’70s
Mitch has been mushing ever since he was a young lad, coached by his father Dan Seavey in Seward, Alaska. All that time and experience has obviously paid off, and he seems to have carried on that tradition with his kids. If you’re thinking of entering the Iditarod, just know that guys like Mitch probably have a few decades’ worth of practice on you. Good luck!
5. In 1995, He Was the First to Do Entire Iditarod Trail in 75 Years
The race that we know today doesn’t actually cover the entire Iditarod trail. The full trail starts in Seward, where Mitch hails from originally. He became the first musher to complete the entire trail, from Seward to Nome, in 75 years. That was back in 1995, and he clearly never stopped upping his game. Just ask the 65 other mushers who finished after him this year, many of them former champions themselves.