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Osmar wins Yukon quest with picture-perfect run

Posted: Friday, February 23, 2001

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Tim Osmar claimed victory in the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race early Friday and marveled at his good fortune in the 1,000-mile race from Whitehorse, Yukon Territory to Fairbanks.

''Everything was perfect,'' Osmar said after reaching the finish chute on the Chena River in downtown Fairbanks at 3:48 a.m. ''Nothing could go wrong.''

Osmar, 33, of Ninilchik, completed the race in 11 days, 14 hours and 38 minutes. He said he knew, when he reached the race's halfway point at Dawson City, that things were going well for him. But he didn't allow himself to think about winning until just before he reached Fairbanks.

''About ten miles ago,'' he said. ''I didn't even want to think about it. And the last 10 miles were pretty long.''

Osmar won't get much time to savor his victory before hitting the trail again. In just one week, he will run the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. The 1,100 mile race from Anchorage to Nome begins March 3.

Running the state's two grueling, long-distance sled dog races in the same year is a feat attempted only four times in the past and no one has ever won both races in the same year.

Andrew Lesh of Fairbanks claimed second-place in the Quest, reaching Fairbanks at 5:14 a.m. Lesh finished 10th in last year's race.

William Kleedehn of Carcross, Yukon Territory claimed third place, finishing at 8:10 a.m.

Sixteen mushers remained on the trail early Friday. Thirty-one teams started the race, which began Feb. 11.



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