Lance Mackey withdraws from 2017 Iditarod

Lance Mackey says this is last Iditarod. (Photo By Patrick Yack - Alaska Public Media)
Lance Mackey ahead of the 2015 Iditarod. (Photo By Patrick Yack – Alaska Public Media)

The Iditarod Trail Committee announced Monday that former champion Lance Mackey has withdrawn from the race, citing health reasons.

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The committee shared the news through its Facebook page, writing¬†Mackey is on a “journey to improving his health.”

Mackey is a cancer survivor, and has had difficult time in the last two Iditarods, scratching in 2016 midway through the race.

The musher’s four back-to-back wins in both the Iditarod and Yukon-Quest make him one of the most elite long-distance mushers in the sport’s history.

Calls to Mackey’s Comeback Kennel in Fairbanks went unanswered Monday afternoon.

There are currently 54 mushers signed up for the 2017 Iditarod.