Veteran musher Ryan Redington (40) is the champion of the 2023 Iditarod, a sled dog race his grandfather founded 50 years ago.
Veteran musher Ryan Redington (40), of Knik, Alaska, crossed the finish line of the 51st running of the Iditarod in Nome at 12:13 pm Tuesday, claiming his first Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race championship. Redington wins his first championship in his 15th time competing.
Redington had 6 dogs in harness when he triumphantly crossed the finish line to win the Iditarod 2023 title in 8 days, 21 hours, 12 minutes and 58 seconds. Redington made it the approximately 998 miles from Anchorage to Nome thanks to his team of six dogs, featuring leaders, 6-year-old Ghost and 4-year-old Sven.
Winning the 51st Iditarod comes with the largest percentage of the $500,000 purse for the 2023 race. On his charge to Nome, Ryan also won the Alaska Air Transit Spirit of Iditarod Award, Bristol Bay Native Corporation Fish First Award, Ryan Air Gold Coast Award and the Northrim Bank Achieve More Award.
His winnings from those awards total $5,000 in cash, $1,000 in gold nuggets and 25 pounds of salmon.
First to win
“It is difficult to fully express the magnitude of Ryan’s win today; his grandfather envisioned the Iditarod 51 years ago and Ryan’s fully honored the Redington legacy with grit, determination and love for his dogs that will inspire not only future generations of Redington mushers but all of Iditarod Nation,” said Iditarod CEO, Rob Urbach in a press release.
It was Redingtons grandfather who pioneered the race more than half a century ago, and Redington is the first member of his family to win the Iditarod in the decades they have been part of the race. This was his 16th race.
It means everything to bring that trophy home.
Redington thanked the fans and supporters who had helped him reach this moment, which marked the culmination of a childhood dream.
“It means everything to bring that trophy home. It has been a goal of mine since a very small child to win the Iditarod, and I cannot believe it. It finally happened. It took a lot of work, took a lot of patience. We failed quite a few times,” Redington said to Anchorage Daily News after the race.
Redington will receive a portion of the $500,000 prize purse based on how many teams make it to Nome. He also wins a trophy — a bronze statue of his grandfather.
As the winner of Iditarod 2023, Redington adds more mushing accolades to his career. Aside from his two Iditarod Jr. Championships in 1999 and 2000, Ryan is now one of six Redingtons to have finished the Iditarod since it started 50 years ago.
Redington has competed in the Iditarod 15 times, garnering the Most Improved Musher in 2017 and in addition to his 2023 Championship, he has had three Top 10 Finishes in the last three years. Mushers currently on the Iditarod trail will continue to make their way to Nome.
The race finishes when the last musher crosses the finish line, claiming the Red Lantern, a longstanding Iditarod tradition, and symbol of perseverance.