Defending champion Lance Mackey won the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
The 37-year-old throat cancer survivor from Fairbanks and 11 dogs crossed the finish line under Nome’s burled arch at 2:45 a.m. ADT Wednesday.
He yelled “Yeah, baby!” as he drove his team down Nome’s Front Street. Fans mobbed him along the last stretch.
For much of the 1,100-mile race Mackey tussled for the lead with four-time winner Jeff King of Denali Park, who was about an hour behind Mackey. He also struggled with dogs stricken with diarrhea and slowed by unseasonably warm weather that marked much of the trail.
Wednesday’s win was a repeat of the historical feat pulled off by Mackey in 2007 when he became the first musher to win back-to-back runs in the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race and the Iditarod in the same year.
The top 30 finishers will get a piece of the $875,000 purse. The winner gets $69,000 and a $45,000 truck.
In its 36th running, the Iditarod commemorates a run by sled dogs in 1925 to deliver lifesaving diphtheria serum to Nome.