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51st Running of the Iditarod Trail Race Ends

Megan Pacer
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The 51st running of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race has ended. Jason Mackey and his dog team crossed under the burled arch in Nometoday at 5:03 p.m. Alaska time to conclude the race.

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Musher Jason Mackey before the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in downtown Anchorage on Saturday, March 4. (Emily Mesner / ADN)

Mackey completed the race in 12 days, 2 hours and 3 minutes. As the final musher to cross the finish line, Mackey will receive the Red Lantern Award.

This year's race marked a significant moment for the 51-year-old, who returned to the Iditarod after several years away, and still grappling with the death of his brother, Iditarod giant Lance Mackey.

As he raced, Jason Mackey carried his brother's ashes with him and those of their late mother and scattered them at special places along the trail.


Boxes on a shelf of Jason Mackey's home contain the ashes of his mother, Kathie Smith, and brother, Lance Mackey. (Marc Lester / ADN)

Out of this year's field of 33 teams (the smallest in Iditarod history) 29 of them made it to Nome. Four mushers scratched from the race, including last year's champion Brent Sass.

"I guess it's in our blood," Mackey said today in Nome when he was asked how he persisted through problems and challenging conditions along the trail. "It's in every musher's blood. We don't give up."


To continue the article, and for more photos, click Anchorage Daily News