WHITEHORSE, YUKON (February 20, 2008) – As Lance Mackey glided over the Finish line in first place early this morning, the veteran musher has entered the history books yet again winning his fourth consecutive 1,000-mile Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race.
After 10 days, 12 hours and 14 minutes on the race trail, Mackey arrived in the Whitehorse Finish chute at 1:23 a.m. local time before an enthusiastic crowd of 500 supporters, volunteers and Race Officials only 15 minutes ahead of Ken Anderson, his closest competitor.
“It feels better because it was so challenging, it feels nice,” said Mackey when asked about win number four. “I’m really impressed with my team, they were up for anything you threw at them.”
Mackey, of Fairbanks, Alaska, had faced several challenges on his way to victory from frigid temperatures at the race start to balmy ones at the finish and a constant jockeying for the lead with neighbor and rival Anderson.
Earlier in the afternoon, Mackey had left the last Checkpoint in Braeburn only 19 minutes before Anderson and unofficial reports along the trail to Whitehorse had placed the two mushers eight minutes apart at one stage.
Anderson arrived in the Finish chute at 1:38 a.m. to an equally rousing reception by the crowd.
Both mushers will remain in Whitehorse through Saturday to attend the Yukon Quest Meet the Mushers event and the Finish and Awards Banquet. They will then make their way to a veterinary check next Tuesday in preparation for the Iditarod.
Thirteen other Yukon Quest teams remain in the field and a tight race for third place is on in the Race Checkpoint of Braeburn.
David Dalton and Michelle Phillips are set to depart the checkpoint following their mandatory eight-hour layover at 9:15 a.m. and 9:42 a.m. respectively.
For updated information as the race progresses, please visit the Yukon Quest site.