Iditarod -- Race Across Alaska
Young Musher Makes History
By Suzanne Freeman
March 2005

Dallas Seavey
(Photo: Seavey family)

This year, Dallas Seavey will make history by becoming the first musher ever to run the Jr. Iditarod and the Iditarod in the same year. While many would say the feat takes a lot of guts, Dallas is quick to point out that it also takes a little luck and timing.

“You have to be 14 to 17 to run Jr., and 18 or older to run the Iditarod,” says Dallas, whose 18th birthday falls on March 4. “I’ll be 17 for the Jr. Iditarod, and the day before the Iditarod, I turn 18. It’s a pretty lucky birthday.”

After two straight runner-up finishes in the Jr. Iditarod, Seavey is hoping to win it all this year. His goal for the Iditarod is more modest. He would simply like to cross the finish line.

Conquering 1,150 miles of Alaskan wilderness, however, is anything but simple, especially since Dallas’s team of 2-year-old dogs are Iditarod rookies.

“They are all very, very fresh,” says Dallas about the dogs, who logged 1,500 miles each getting into racing condition. “I’m a rookie as well. It’s going to be a challenge getting these young dogs over the trail. They’ve never really done a long race or slept on straw away from their homes.”

Dallas insists he’s up for the challenge. After all, he’s had years to prepare for his date with destiny. He also comes from a long line of mushers. His father, Mitch Seavey, won the Iditarod last year. Both of his older brothers have won the Jr. Iditarod in the past.

When Dallas was just 6 years old, he got out an electronic calendar and forwarded to the year 2005. It was then that he figured out that his birthday would fall between the Jr. Iditarod and the Iditarod—a stroke of luck that would allow him to run both races.

Now the years of waiting are over, and Dallas is hard at work preparing for the quick turnaround between races.

“I’ll be using a lot of the same gear,” he says. “It’s best to have your personal gear dried out, your gloves rounded up, everything ready. With two races in a row like that, it makes it more difficult. Running the Jr. right before will make it a little difficult as far as sleep deprivation. Going into the Iditarod, I will probably be tired.”

Not too tired to enjoy the ride, promises Dallas. This time next year the college-bound teen won’t be anywhere near the Iditarod trail. Instead, he’ll be studying at the University of Northern Michigan on a full scholarship and training to compete in Greco-Roman wrestling in the 2012 Olympic Games.

Even if Olympic glory is in his future, Dallas vows he will always remain passionate about his very first sport—mushing.

“It’s what I’ve grown up doing,” he says. “It’s just you and the dogs out there. There are no engines. It’s a natural power from the dogs. It’s amazing how athletic they are. A lot of the times, when I’m out there, I wouldn’t want to come back for a week if I didn’t have to.”