Iditarod -- Race Across Alaska
2006 Winner: King Wins Iditarod
Musher celebrates fourth win
By Alexandra Cale

Iditarod champion Jeff King of Denali Park, Alaska, runs his team up a ridge outside of White Mountain, Alaska during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on March 14, 2006.
Iditarod champion Jeff King of Denali Park, Alaska, runs his team up a ridge outside of White Mountain, Alaska during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on March 14, 2006.
(Photo: AP Photo/Al Grillo)
March 15—Jeff King and his sled dog team have done it again. He and his canine crew drove into the town of Nome, Alaska, early Wednesday morning, securing a victory in the 1,100-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.  It is King’s fourth win.

“This is pretty cool. I worked pretty hard for it,” King said after arriving in Nome. “We really went to the greatest lengths we could to prepare the dogs and all the equipment.”

King finished the race, which started on March 4 in Anchorage, Alaska, in nine days, 11 hours, 11 minutes and 36 seconds.  Doug Swingley, who came in second place, crossed the finish line three hours later.  At 50, King is the oldest musher, or person who drives a dog team, to win the Iditarod. It is world's longest sled dog race.

This year’s competition began with 83 mushers, but 11 scratched, or withdrew from the race before they finished.  Mushers follow a trail that takes them into deep snow through two mountain ranges, along the lonely Yukon River, and finally up the coast of the Bering Sea.  Along the route, there are 24 checkpoints in cabins and villages.

King, a Denali, Alaska, resident, is known for his inventive technical methods.  He designed his unique sled with a seat and safety belt. He even attached a hand warmer to the handlebar!  King took steps to ensure the safety of his dogs as well.  He created special loose harness straps so that his team would be able to move more freely.

The Iditarod Race was created to celebrate a 1925 sled-dog relay from the small town of Nenana, Alaska, to Nome, where there was an outbreak of a disease called diphtheria.  Then, the quickest way to send much-needed medicine was by sleds pulled by dogs.

Mushers who are still out on the trail are expected to arrive in Nome over the next several days.