57-year-old Mitch Seavey becomes oldest winner of Iditarod

He previously won the race in 2013 and 2004

FILE - In this March 15, 2016, file photo, Mitch Seavey, left, and Dallas Seavey speak to fans after the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Nome, Alaska. Mitch Seavey had a commanding two-hour lead Tuesday, March 14, 2017, in the 2017 Iditarod, and was nearing the finish line. If the lead holds, he and his son, Dallas, will have won the last six sled dog races across nearly a thousand miles of grueling Alaska wilderness. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen, File)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Mitch Seavey won his third Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Tuesday, becoming the oldest champion at age 57 and helping cement his family’s position as mushing royalty.

The Seward, Alaska, musher brought his dogs off the frozen Bering Sea and onto Front Street in the Gold Rush town of Nome after crossing nearly 1,000 miles of Alaska wilderness.

He outran his son, defending champion Dallas Seavey, and lapped the oldest musher record that he set at age 53 in 2013. He previously won the race in 2013 and 2004.

“This is kind of a ride of a lifetime,” Mitch Seavey told a camera crew for the Iditarod website as he was packing his sled to leave the last checkpoint, White Mountain.

“I hope there’s more, but it’s fantastic to see these guys perform,” he said of his dog team.

The Seaveys have now won the last six races. Dallas Seavey won four of those races, and his father finished second the last two years. The two are close but competitive.

The family’s ties to the race go back to the first Iditarod, held in 1973, when Mitch Seavey’s dad, Dan, mushed in the event.

Mitch Seavey admitted that while winning is nice, it’s just part of the journey.

“This is the joy of the dog team, the accomplishments of the kennel and family,” he said. “The winning is kind of checking the box, but getting it done is really where the value is.”

The younger Seavey, who is 30, had wins in 2012 and from 2014 to 2016.

The race started March 6 in Fairbanks, with 71 teams trying to navigate nearly a thousand miles of grueling Alaska wilderness to the finish line in the old Gold Rush town of Nome. Four mushers have scratched.

Four dogs associated with the race have died this year, including a 4-year-old male named Flash who collapsed on the trail early Tuesday when his musher, Katherine Keith, was about 10 miles outside the checkpoint in Koyuk.

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