Ryan Redington, who hails from a family of hall-of-fame mushers, reached Nome, Alaska, ahead of his rivals on Tuesday to win the grueling Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in his 16th try.
Redington, a native Alaskan, completed the nearly 1,000-mile endurance test in eight days, 21 hours and 12:58 minutes, led by his dogs Sven and Ghost, according to the race results posted on the event’s website.
Welcome the 2023 Iditarod Champion, Ryan Redington! Redington (bib #5), of Knik, Alaska, crossed the finish line of the 51st running of the Iditarod in Nome at 12:13 pm today, claiming his first Iditarod championship.
— The Iditarod (@The_Iditarod) March 14, 2023
“It’s been a goal of mine since a very small child, to win the Iditarod. And I can’t believe it. It finally happened,” Redington, 40, said after crossing the finish line in Nome, Alaska Public Media reported.
Redington, whose grandfather Joe is known as the “Father of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race” for his work in organizing and promoting the event in the late 1960s, raised the trophy in his 16th try.
“It took a lot of work, took a lot of patience, and we failed quite a few times, you know, but we kept our head up high and stuck with the dream,” Redington said, according to Alaska Public Media.
Redington, whose father and uncle are also in the Mushing Hall of Fame, left Anchorage along with more than 32 other mushers on March 4 and raced through single-digit temperatures along the way. He will take home the largest share of the race’s $500,000 prize.
In another historic note to this year’s race, the mushers who finished second and third were also native Alaskans. Pete Kaiser lives in the town of Bethel and Richie Diehl hails from Aniak.
“It’s almost unheard of aside from some of the earlier days in the race when there was more participation from rural teams and Native teams,” said Kaiser.
Copyright 2023 Thomson/Reuters. Additions and updates for FISM News by Michael Cardinal.