Alaskan Matt Hall wins 2017 Yukon Quest sled dog race
Hall crossed the finish line at just after noon, Alaska time, hours ahead of his nearest rivals
Twenty-five-year-old Alaskan musher Matt Hall has won the Yukon Quest sled dog race arriving at the Fairbanks, Alaska, finish line just after noon, Alaska time, Tuesday.
Hall completed the 1,600-kilometre race from Whitehorse in 10 days, one hour and seven minutes, defeating three previous champions, Hugh Neff, Allen Moore and Brent Sass. Sass dropped out of the race on Sunday citing concern for the safety of two of his dogs.
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This is Hall's fourth consecutive Quest and said he hoped to do well, but not this well.
He came in hours ahead of his nearest competitors Neff and Moore and said he, "didn't expect a clean shot out front.
"It's one thing about any race, especially the Quest, since everybody, depending on the age of their team, how many young dogs they're bringing in and just things happen out there on the trail," he said. "Everybody has up-and-down years no matter how many races they've run, how many Quests they've won."
Hall lives in Two Rivers, Alaska, east of Fairbanks, but grew up mushing in the Yukon River community of Eagle, Alaska, just across the U.S.- Canada border and downriver from Dawson City, Yukon.
His parents, Wayne and Scarlett Hall, are well known in the mushing community. Wayne has run the Quest in the past and Scarlett has run the Yukon Quest checkpoint in Eagle for more than 20 years.
Officials noted at the finish line that Matt is the first second-generation Quest musher to win the race.
His parents were there to greet him after closing down the Eagle checkpoint and hurrying to Fairbanks to be on hand for his finish.
As is the case for many of the dog teams in the Quest, a bucket of steaks was waiting at the finish line for Hall's dogs.