NOME, Alaska (AP) -- Martin Buser cruised down Front Street behind his dog team Tuesday to claim his fourth victory in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, finishing in record time.
A crowd lined the street to welcome him to this Gold Rush town on the edge of frozen Norton Sound.
Buser, of Big Lake, enjoyed near-perfect trail conditions and clear skies for most of the 1,100-mile race from Anchorage to Nome. He traveled near the front of the pack for the first half of the race and had a decisive lead by the halfway point at Cripple.
Buser's win this year came after he placed 24th last year, his worst finish in 15 years.
Before the start of the race, Buser said his goal was to go ''from worst to first.''
He credits the turnaround to a renewed focus on training. Buser said he pared back on his schedule of public appearances and his involvement with civic organizations to spend more time with his dogs.
The effort paid off.
Buser broke the race record of nine days and 58 minutes, set by four-time champion Doug Swingley of Lincoln, Mont. in 2000. It marks the first time the race has ever been won in less than nine days.
For his efforts, Buser takes home $62,800 and a new pickup truck.
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