Pete Kaiser reached the finish line just 12 minutes ahead of second-placed Leifseth Ulsom, 32, in one of the closest finishes in Iditarod history
The 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race ended in a predawn close finish on the snow-covered streets of Nome on Wednesday, with Alaskan Pete Kaiser and his dogs barely holding off defending champion Joar Leifseth Ulsom of Norway.
Kaiser, 31, reached the finish line just 12 minutes ahead of second-placed Leifseth Ulsom, 32, in one of the closest finishes in Iditarod history. It was Kaisers first Iditarod win.
Crowds of cheering fans packed the city of Nomes Front Street to watch Kaiser and his team sprint under the wooden arch that marks the end of the 1,000-mile (1,609km) Anchorage-to-Nome run.
His total elapsed time was nine days, 12 hours and 39:06 minutes. It was far from the record time of eight days, 3:40 hours, set two years ago by three-time champion Mitch Seavey.
Kaiser, who became the first Alaska Native musher since 2011 to win, pumped his arms into the air as he crossed the finish line, hugged his wife and small children and then reached into the crowd of well-wishers who had traveled from his southwestern Alaska hometown of Bethel.
He credited the victory to years of preparation, every little detail coming into play, and having a pinch of luck.
Im very, very fortunate to have the support system I have, the whole community of Bethel and the whole Kuskokwim River and all of western Alaska. Its extremely humbling and motivates me every day to perform to my best, he said at the finish line.
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