Osmar wins Yukon Quest with picture-perfect run

Posted: Sunday, February 25, 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 to earn the $30,000 first place prize. 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 ten 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.

By early Friday evening, six mushers had crossed the finish line.

Andrew Lesh of Fairbanks claimed second-place and $24,000, reaching Fairbanks at 5:14 a.m. Lesh finished 10th in last year's race.

William Kleedehn of Carcross, Yukon Territory claimed third place and $18,000, finishing at 8:10 a.m.

Rookie Joran Freeman of Fairbanks crossed the finish line at 11:12 a.m. for fourth place and $12,000.

Two-time champion John Schandelmeier of Paxson finished fifth at 12:32 p.m., earning $8,000, and 1995 winner Frank Turner of Whitehorse, Yukon Territory finished sixth at 5:11 p.m., earning $6,000.

The total Quest purse is $125,000.

Thirteen mushers remained on the trail Friday night. Thirty-one teams started the race Feb. 11.

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