ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) – A Norwegian musher received the Iditarod Path Sled Canine Race early on Wednesday, notching the third victory ever for his residence nation within the 46-year historical past of the annual 1,000-mile (1609-km) trek throughout Alaska’s wilderness.
Joar Leifseth Ulsom, the dogsled driver, arrived on the end line shortly after 2:30 a.m. native time (1030 GMT) after 9 days and 12 hours to change into the second Norwegian to win the 1,000-mile Iditarod. Countryman Robert Sorlie received twice earlier than – in 2003 and once more in 2005.
Ulsom was greeted by Nome’s mayor and crowds of followers who lined Nome’s snow-covered Entrance Avenue, together with one waving a Norwegian flag.
Within the end chute, Ulsom stated he had dreamed of successful the Iditarod ever since Sorlie did.
“It’s fairly unreal that we pulled it off,” he stated.
Deep snow and hotter climate, with temperatures at instances topping the freezing mark, slowed the tempo of this yr’s race. Final yr, three-time winner Mitch Seavey set a document of eight days, three hours, 40 minutes and 13 seconds in hard-packed situations.
Ulsom, driving a group of eight canines, jumped into first place on Monday when he handed French native Nicolas Petit on the Bering Sea ice. Petit, who had held a cushty lead, went astray as he ventured into blowing snow and misplaced the path, forcing him to backtrack.
Petit advised the Anchorage Each day Information that he was led off-course by some markers left over from the Iron Canine snowmobile race.
By noon on Tuesday, Ulsom and Petit and their canines had paused within the Inupiat Eskimo village of White Mountain, a compulsory eight-hour relaxation cease earlier than the ultimate sprint to the end line in Nome, a coastal Gold Rush city 77 miles (124 km)to the west.
The 31-year-old Ulsom, from the Norwegian city of Mo i Rana, simply south of the Arctic Circle, has completed within the high seven in all of his previous Iditarod races, and was the fastest-ever rookie in 2013.
Petit, 36, grew up in France’s Normandy area and moved to Alaska in 1992. He lives within the ski city of Girdwood.
Sixty-seven mushers and their canines began the Iditarod in Anchorage on March three. As of Wednesday morning, eight had droppedout. Most Iditarod mushers are from Alaska, however annually a number of Norwegians compete within the race.
Ulsom and the opposite Iditarod mushers who observe him throughout the end line over the subsequent a number of hours and days will break up a $500,000 prize purse. As first-place champion, Ulsom additionally will get a brand new pickup truck.
4-time Iditarod champion Dallas Seavey, Mitch Seavey’s son, withdrew from this yr’s Iditarod following a dog-doping scandal. 4 of his canines examined optimistic for a banned opioid after final yr’s race. Seavey has stated he’s harmless, accused Iditarod officers of botching his case and prompt that he was the sufferer of sabotage.
As a substitute, the youthful Seavey was in Norway through the Iditarod, the place he was main within the 1,100-kilometer (682-mile) Finnmarksløpet.
Modifying by Jeffrey Benkoe