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Don't Call It a Comeback

by Ryan Hudson

Wait. Actually, yes, do call it a comeback, because that's exactly what it was. Heading into the last leg, Jeff King had a 57-minute lead over Lance Mackey. Unfortunately for Jeff King, Mackey was not impressed.

Very early on Wednesday morning, Mackey won Iditarod 36, his second consecutive victory in "The Last Great Race," and in the process, completed the impossible:

Winning both the brutal 1,000-mile Yukon Quest Sled Dog Race and the punishing 1,100-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in one year, and both in little more than a month.

Not only did Mackey accomplish that feat. But he's now done it two years in a row.
First the Quest in bone-numbing, flesh-freezing, 40-below-zero cold that left Mackey with frostbitten feet. Then the Iditarod, with Mackey still hobbling on those frostbitten feet, in sled-dog-taxing warmth often near 40 degrees above zero, sometimes warmer.

And if you were wondering, the first thing Mackey did after he crossed the finish line, before he accepted his $69,000 check, before he took the keys to his new truck, even before he called his dad, the only musher ever to win the Iditarod in a photo finish, Lance Mackey fed his dogs.