‘Carrying Lance with me’: Iditarod musher Mackey continues brother’s legacy
JASON MACKEY | IDITAROD MUSHER: “Really focus on the dogs. The only reason we’re getting down the trail is because of the dogs. So, they absolutely come first, in all aspects. That’s not just on the trail, that’s at home, that’s everyday life for us.”
SHANNON LONGWORTH: EVERYDAY LIFE FOR THE MACKEY FAMILY. JASON’S FATHER DICK, AND BROTHER RICK HAVE BOTH WON IDITAROD. AND HIS LATE BROTHER, LANCE, IS AN IDITAROD GIANT. HE WON THE RACE FOUR TIMES IN HIS CAREER, AND IS THIS YEAR’S HONORARY MUSHER. LANCE DIED FIVE MONTHS AGO FROM CANCER.
JASON: “I’ll be carrying Lance with me. That being said, I’m not sure if I’m spreading his ashes or not. The time will tell when I get out there. And yeah, it’s very emotional. At times it’s more emotional than not. Patience, patience he always taught me patience. Just be patient, good things come to those who wait. Another thing he taught me growing up is you can’t fix the things that happened. You just keep looking forward one foot in front of the next.”
AND THAT’S WHAT JASON’S DOING. HIS MOTTO IS “MACK IS BACK” AFTER TAKING A FIVE YEAR BREAK FROM THE RACE AND REBUILDING HIS TEAM. FOUR OF HIS DOGS ARE FROM LANCE’S KENNEL. BUT ONLY ONE OF THE 14 RUNNERS IS A VETERAN. JASON SAYS A ROOKIE TEAM IS A GOOD THING.
JASON: “They love to do what they’re doing. 50,60,70 below zero, 30 mph winds they curl up, tuck their nose under their tail. Then they come up and shake off the snow and are like, ‘let’s do it again.’ They are like no other animal on earth.”
LONGWORTH: THIS IS JASON’S 8TH TIME RACING IDITAROD. HE SAYS HE’S CONFIDENT IN THE DOG SLED TEAM HE AND HIS BROTHER BUILT.
JASON: “As long as I’m upright and able to do it then that’s what I’ll continue doing. This is what I love to do, this is what I was born into. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”