What a race!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - 19:00

Sterling’s Mitch Seavey won the 2013 Iditarod Tuesday night, outracing Two Rivers musher Aliy Zirkle to the finish line by a little more than a half hour.

Watching race updates come in online was truly a thrill, as Alaskans around the state huddled around computer screens to see what was happening with the “Last Great Race.”

There’s no telling how many of us stayed up late Tuesday to see who would win the race, but it’s a good bet that few people went to bed early that night. And with dozens of media outlets reporting on the race, the ability to follow the action was nearly limitless.

Despite all the technology we can now access to follow the race, however, the Iditarod still remains a uniquely Alaskan passion that brings us together like no other event. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who didn’t follow this year’s exciting race to Nome, and many folks likely even participated in office pools, picking their favorites in much the same way the rest of the nation picks their NCAA tourney brackets.

The fact that this year’s race was so close — Seavey beat Zirkle to the line by a scant 24 minutes — added an extra layer of excitement to the proceedings.

The Iditarod remains an event we as Alaskans continue to take an immense amount of pride in. No matter who we root for, it’s the one event each year we all seem to follow as the mushers slowly make their way up the trail. And that shared passion is one of the things that makes living here so special.

We’d like to congratulate Mitch Seavey on his second Iditarod win, and also Aliy Zirkle for putting up one heck of a fight. After back-to-back runner-up finishes, she’s left no doubt that she’s one of the sport’s premier competitors.

Although we wish the Iditarod ran through Eagle River as it once did, we still love the race and take a lot of pride in the “Checkpoint 1” sign that greets folks driving into our community.

Trying to explain Alaskans’ passion for the Iditarod to Outsiders isn’t always easy. For people who have never experienced the thrilling event, it’s seen as mainly a curiosity. Frankly, that’s kind of how we like things up here. We pride ourselves on being a little different in Alaska, so it’s fitting that we’ve got such an unusual pastime as our state sport.

We wouldn’t want it any other way.

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