'It left me in tears': Nova Scotian completes Iditarod in just over 12 days

After 12 of the hardest days of his life, a Nova Scotia man is celebrating with his dog Jerry.

Bradley Farquhar says he has his dog Jerry to thank for taking him across finish line

Bradley Farquhar said after days in the wilderness, he's just excited to sleep in a real bed. (Submitted by Bradley Farquhar)

After 12 of the hardest days of his life, a Nova Scotia man is celebrating crossing the finish line in one of the world's most challenging races.

Bradley Farquhar from Brooklyn in Hants Country, N.S., completed the Iditarod, a 1,600-kilometre dogsled race across Alaskan tundra, on March 16. He was the 44th of 52 racers to finish.

"It surpassed what I thought difficult was," Farquhar, 31, told CBC News from his hotel room. "This race was the hardest thing I've ever done."

"There's moments during the race that I did not think there was a chance I had and to actually be coming up onto the street and seeing the Canada flag and the Nova Scotia flag at the finish line, gosh, it got emotional pretty dang quick."

Farquhar said he owes it all to his dog Jerry, who stepped up and led the last 640 kilometres of the race by himself.

Farquhar is bringing his dog Jerry home to Nova Scotia. (CBC)

"He's a really strong dog mentally and physically," he said. "I'm so lucky to have him and he's coming home to Nova Scotia to meet everyone."

Farquhar started the race with 14 dogs, but four didn't finish because of sore wrists and shoulders. They were left at checkpoints and treated by volunteers and veterinarians.

'Left me in tears'

The adventurer has run marathons, climbed mountains and swum the English Channel, but said nothing has tested him as much as the Iditarod.

"In fact, it left me in tears with my face buried in a pillow thinking, 'I can't go on, I can't do this,'" Farquhar said. 

Mushers can only take what fits on their sleds, and Farquhar said at one point, he was out in the wilderness alone for 29 hours before reaching a checkpoint.

He said there were moments when he felt like giving up, and his dogs refused to lead the sled. 

"But at that point, Jerry right there stepped up and he started single leading and I couldn't have done it without him," he said.

Farquhar said once home in Nova Scotia, he plans to apply for Amazing Race Canada, and then he'll embark on a new adventure. 

With files from Amy Smith