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Musher Lance Mackey wins fourth consecutive Iditarod

By Tracy Sabo, CNN
Musher Lance Mackey is seen in Wasilla, Alaska, on March 7. He's won every Iditarod race since 2007, setting a record.
Musher Lance Mackey is seen in Wasilla, Alaska, on March 7. He's won every Iditarod race since 2007, setting a record.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Alaskan musher Lance Mackey sets Iditarod record for most wins in a row
  • Mackey, a throat cancer survivor, completes 1,049-mile race in just under nine days
  • Mackey's father, 1978 Iditarod winner, says son "likes to get the best out of his dogs"
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(CNN) -- Alaskan musher Lance Mackey has won the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race and set an Iditarod record for most consecutive wins, according to race officials. Mackey, 39, of Fairbanks has dominated the sport in recent years and is the 2007-2010 Iditarod champion.

Mackey completed the 1,049-mile Iditarod race, which was broadcast live on IditarodInsider.com, in just under nine days. He was cheered across the finish line in Nome by family and friends, including his father, Dick Mackey, the 1978 Iditarod champion.

The senior Mackey greeted his son at the finish line with a hug, saying, "You've done something that will never be repeated, son."

Dick Mackey told race commentators his son "is highly competitive and he likes to get the best out of his dogs. ... I don't think anybody trains them any better than he does."

Mackey could be heard on the broadcast microphones speaking to his dog team just before reaching the famous burled arch on Nome's Front Street, "Nice, nice. This is so cool. We're almost there, guys. You did such a good job."

Arriving in Nome at 2:59 p.m. local time, Mackey's official time was 8 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes and 9 seconds.

Mackey, a throat cancer survivor who says he began racing "at birth," was inducted into the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame in February "for capturing multiple titles in two of the world's longest sled dog races."

Mackey is also a four-time champion of the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest race from Fairbanks to Nome as well as the record holder for the most consecutive first place finishes in that race.

Second place in the Iditarod went to Yukon musher Hans Gatt. Past champion musher Jeff King came in third.

King, from Denali, Alaska, received praise and gratitude from the Iditarod Trail Committee earlier this season when he donated $50,000 toward the 2010 Iditarod prize purse after learning the race was experiencing financial trouble because a shortage of sponsors.

More than 54 teams remained on the Iditarod trail headed toward Nome, including rookie Jamaican musher Newton Marshall, who was in 48th place. Marshall trained with Mackey this season in preparation for his first Iditarod run.

Fourteen of the original 71 teams that entered this year's race have scratched en route. A "Red Lantern" will be presented to the last place finisher in the dog race, an Alaska tradition dating back to 1953, according to Alaska Magazine.