Born and raised in Alaska, Lance Mackey grew up around dog mushing and tough times. His father, Dick Mackey, was one of the founders of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, which was officially organized in 1973.
What is the Iditarod Sled Dog Race?
The ultimate endurance event comprised of a sled dog race across 1,200 miles of Alaska’s most punishing wilderness.
Lance’s father, Dick went on to win the 1978 Iditarod race by ONE second. Alaskans still talk about that great race. In 1983, Lance’s oldest brother, Rick , was the winner of the Iditarod.
For Lance, this was his legacy, as a son, as a brother and as an up and coming dog musher. Lance wanted to win the Iditarod as well. This dream almost ended when he was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2001 and underwent extensive surgery and radiation treatment.
Determined to move forward. Lance started the 2002 Iditarod with a feeding tube still in place in his stomach but had to drop out of the race halfway into it. Lance took 2003 off to regroup. For the next several years he continued to run dogs and dream of winning the Iditarod. In 2005 he entered the Yukon Quest, another challenging 1,000 mile sled dog race, and he won it in his rookie year. Repeat victories in 2006, 2007 and 2008 make him the first Yukon Quest Champion to win the race four times and the only person to win four times in a row. In 2007, he returned to the Iditarod.
Again he beat the odds and did what was previously thought to be impossible: he won both the Yukon Quest and Iditarod in the same year and within two weeks of each other. He repeated that feat in 2008. In 2009 he won the Iditarod again, defeating intense competition and severe weather. His 2010 victory made Lance the first to win in four consecutive years. Perhaps his greatest personal accomplishment is that he has been honored in both the Quest and the Iditarod for taking the best care of his dogs, who he considers to be the true champions. He has been nominated twice for national ESPY awards.
It is attitude and appetite that make Lance Mackey who he is. He constantly reminds us, “dreams can and do come true.” This is the amazing journey of Lance Mackey and his True North Story®.