Lance Mackey is well known as the most inspiring athlete in the story of Alaska. His winning attitude, his capacity to overcome difficulties and his love for dogs has made him become one of the most successful sled dog mushers in the world. Lance is an exceptional driver to slide, a cancer survivor and a down to earth person. As a great speaker, Lance leaves the public really inspired and motivated.
Lance was born and raised in Alaska, in the environment of mushing dogs and difficult times. His dad, Dick Mackey, was one of the founders of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, Officially organized in 1973, a race of 1200 miles across the Alaska wilderness.
Lance’s dad won the Iditarod in 1978. The Alaskans still talk about that great race until now. His brother, Rick, became the winner of Iditarod in 1983. For Lance, all of that was his legacy, as a son, as a brother and as a sled dog musher. Lance wanted to win the Iditarod. This marvelous dream is almost finished when in 2001 he was diagnosed with throat cancer and he underwent surgery and radiotherapy immediately.
Determined to move forward, in 2002 Lance came to win the Iditarod with a feeding tube still in his stomach, unfortunately he had to abandon the race halfway. Lance skipped the Iditarod race in 2003 to recover and reorganize himself. In the following years, he continued to lead the dog sledding with one dream – to win the Iditarod. In 2005, he participated in the Yukon Quest, another important race of 1000 miles and he won. He repeated the victory in 2006, 2007, and 2008 and he became the first Champion of Yukon Quest to have won the race for times and the only one who won the race four times in a row. In 2007 he came back to the Iditarod.
Once again he broke the records and made the impossible: he won both the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod at the same year in two weeks in a row. He repeated his success in 2008. In 2009 he won the new Iditarod, defeating the tough competition and the bad weather. His victory in 2010 has made him the first one to win four years in a row. Perhaps his greatest personal achievement is being honored both in the Quest and the Iditarod for his maximum care on his dogs that consider him to be the real Champion. He was nominated twice for ESPY National Awards.
His attitude and his love to life make it what it is. He constantly reminds us that “Dreams come true”.
Lance started to be aware of FORZA10 reputation and he decided to feed his dogs with Forza10 Extreme, both during the race and off race. A musher like him is extremely concerned about the use of quality food. For this reason he really pays attention to the smell and the taste of kibbles (he tasted them himself!). Then he tested the "crocchette" on behalf of his two most difficult dogs, who are really demanding. The consistency of the feces made him excited and convinced. Another fundamental element that has to be considered by the breeders.
And nor let the adventure begins…
Lance is the only musher who has made the poker of four wins in a row at the Yukon Quest: 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008. Not satisfied just with that, since 2007 he also won the Iditarod for four consecutive years, making him the only musher to win two grueling competitions in the same year, plus improving from time to time his pace in each race.
But there was a time he had to abandon the racing scenes due to serious health problems such as throat cancer, with a surgery that left scar from the lower jaw to the chest, lost the use of fingers as a consequence of nerve damage, the removal of salivary glands and the therapies are still going on and have left their marks.
Lance: “I am 44 years old, I look 64 and I feel like 84, I am feeling a bit battered” .
In these conditions, Lance is no longer a mushing record holder and for this reason the sponsors have abandoned him one by one.
But the story of a human who is so stubborn and who has so much love to life could not be “unnoticed” by a company with strong ethnical principles and that doesn’t leave anyone behind. And so, since February the 7th, Lance Mackey was at the start of Yukon Quest as the face of FORZA10.
After 12 days, 7 hours, and 2 minutes of race, Lance Mackey crossed the finished line at Fairbanks, welcomed by the winner of that year, Brent Sass and the loyal fans who were waiting for his return to racing.
His performance wouldn’t seem to be exceptional from the competition point of view, but as a human being, for sure it was an incredible result! Perseverance, tenacity and willingness to help the weakest team in the race, as they were expected to act as a veteran and a true champion in the edition of Yukon Quest, which was particularly heavy, characterized by the coldest temperature that ever happened in other years, the condition that lead to the withdrawal of as many as 12 teams of the 26 starters.
Lance: “When you find yourself at -40 degrees, it’s a pitch dark, you don’t sleep for two days, the bottle of water was frozen and to drink you have to touch and chew the icicles, you ask yourself ‘what am I doing here?’ Then you look up and you see your dogs working hard to make it, then you see the rising sun at the horizon and you realize you are one of those few people who can live this experience”.
This year Lance brought the young and rather inexperience team of dogs to the Yukon Quest, but they have made one of the best time ever in ascent of the Eagle Summit (1.113m), arriving at the finish line healthy and still full of energy, a sign that FORZA10 EXTREME is the ideal nutrition for them. Lance is now planning to present the same dogs’ team for the Iditarod on March the 7th, the more historical race for sled dog, but he says he doesn’t look forward to the 2016 edition of Yukon Quest.
The upcoming challenge of the Iditarod is a difficult journey around 1,868km that connects Anchorage and Nome. The race was inspired by an incident happened in 1925, when the diphtheria epidemic struck the city of Nome; given the bad weather it was not possible to get the antitoxin quickly from Anchorage by plane or boat, and they had to go back to use the traditional sleigh ride. This historical story beside being commemorated every year with the Iditarod, it is also inspired the animated film, Balto: this was the name of the sled dog who led the last 20 teams that reached Nome just in 5 days after departure (127 hours).
FORZA10 and Lance Mackey are now leaving to Anchorage; the countdown for the Iditarod has started, stay tuned!