NOME - Mitch Seavey of Seward was still savoring his surprising victory in the 2004 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Wednesday as 18 more teams crossed the finish line in Nome.
Seavey won the race late Tuesday night, arriving in Nome at 10:20 p.m. to post a time of 9 days, 12 hours, 20 minutes, 22 seconds for the 1,112-mile race traversing spectacular terrain from Anchorage to Nome. Mushers drove their teams across frozen rivers and vast rolling hills and through treacherous gorges and winding mountain passes. The race had its ceremonial start March 6 in Anchorage and its restart March 7 in Willow.
It had been one of the closest Iditarods in years, beginning with a record 87 mushers. Only 10 mushers had scratched as of Wednesday night.
"I kept looking over my shoulder," Seavey said after crossing the finish line Tuesday.
Three-time champion Jeff King of Denali Park took second place, arriving at 12:40 a.m. Wednesday to start the parade of mushers across the finish line. Kjetil Backen of Norway took third place at 1:11 a.m., followed by Ramey Smyth of Big Lake at 2:23 a.m. for fourth place and Ed Iten of Kotzebue at 2:25 a.m. for fifth place.
Rounding out the top-10 finishers were Charlie Boulding of Manley at 3:04 a.m., five-time champion Rick Swenson of Two Rivers at 4:59 a.m., Ramy Brooks of Healy at 5:58 a.m., John Baker of Kotzebue at 10:43 a.m. and Vern Halter of Trapper Creek at 11:25 a.m.
Four-time winner and course record holder Martin Buser of Big Lake took 11th place at 12:41 p.m. He was followed by Jason Barron of Lincoln, Mont., Aaron Burmeister of Nome/Nenana, Tim Osmar of Ninilchik, DeeDee Jonrowe of Willow, Jerry Sousa of Talkeetna, Ken Anderson of Fairbanks, Jim Lanier of Chugiak and Paul Gebhardt of Kasilof.
On the trail from Safety to Nome late Wednesday night were Jessica Royer of Fairbanks and Ryan Redington, Jr. of Two Rivers. The Safety Roadhouse is 22 miles from Nome.
Seavey won $69,000 and a new Dodge pickup truck.