Mitch Seavey, a two-time winner of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, has won the 2017 Iditarod Sled Dog Race, breaking two records in the process: fastest time and oldest musher. Seavey and his team of sled dogs, led by Mojo, Pilot and Crisp, won the race in 8 days, 3 hours, 40 minutes and 13 seconds. Seavey, at 57 years, is also the oldest person to win the race.
“Fifty-seven used to be old, and it’s not anymore,” Seavey said during a news conference after the race. “I’m just letting you know that.”
Seavey held onto a strategy of letting his dogs hold their speed throughout much of the 1,000-mile race, and this enabled his team to pull away from his competitors. Seavey trained his dogs year round to run at 10mph if conditions allowed it and he was pleased with the results.
“I hope this becomes the standard and I don’t want to speak less of any of my competitors, but if we can prepare our dogs for what we’re about to do, and perform in that zone, they should eat, they should be comfortable, and they should be happy all the way through. And yeah, they’ll be tired. It’s an athletic event. Tired at the end is what you’re looking for,” Seavey told the Alaska Dispatch News.
“They love speed,” Seavey told the Alaska Dispatch News. “I think it frustrated them to go too slow, so I just let ’em roll. It was scary because I’ve never gone that far that fast ever, but that’s what they wanted to do and maybe it’s a new chapter.”
Seavey also swapped out his dogs with rested dogs that he kept in compartments on his sled so he always had rested dogs to race. He told the Alaska Dispatch News that this strategy, which also made his sled heavy and harder to manage, probably led to the record time that he set.
Seavey also managed to beat his son, four-time Iditarod champion Dallas Seavey, who finished in second place. Seavey received $75,000 and a new truck for his win.