By Dan Whitcomb
(Reuters) – 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 completed the nearly 1,000-mile (1,610-km) 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.
“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 organising 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.
(This story has been corrected to fix the spelling of the winner’s name in paragraph 3, 4 and 5)
(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)