SPX Alumni Participates in Iditarod for Second Time

Date: 
Tuesday, March 2, 2021

UPDATE: 

The race began Sunday, March 7. To follow along, please click here.

 

Class of 2010 alumnus Sean Underwood will participate in his second Iditarod race starting on March 7.

Special thanks to Mrs. Kate Underwood for sharing Sean's story, below, with St. Pius X.

Following time spent in South America, the Georgia Southern graduate moved to Alaska five years ago and began working for four-time Iditarod winner Jeff King (and one of the oldest to ever win the race) of The Husky Homestead. In 2020, Jeff and his team of 14 dogs were set to run the 1000 mile Iditarod dog race, but unfortunately he needed life-saving surgery days before the start of the race. After waking up from his operation, Jeff groggy and drugged, reached out to the Iditarod committee to ask if Sean could take his place. Sean had completed all the pre qualifying races and had been working and training all of his dogs for three years.

So with just four days notice, Sean prepped as much as he could and took off with Jeff's team of athletes. His goal was to get the team of Iditarod dogs to the finish line - happy, healthy and in good shape. After extreme weather, and less than 30 miles from the finish line, he and two other competitors, with their team of dogs, were running the trail along the Bering Sea... It was pitch black, windy and unbeknown to them, the trail was under water. The weather had gotten warm [for that neck of the woods] and the winds had persisted all night, pushing seawater up onto the trail. Sean describes it as "football field size" pools of water, more than knee high.  While the dogs seemed unfazed, the three competitors helped each other with their sleds, the dogs and attempted to get to the "other side."  Drenched, cold and wet they all worked together to get through it. Hours later, they decided to find a patch of "dry" ground, as they were soaked and potentially close to becoming hypothermic. They all decided to to pull their emergency beacons -- officially ending their race. Eventually they were rescued by helicopter and taken to the hospital. They were monitored and released that same day. Of course the dogs thought they completed the race and had no clue they didn't get to the finish line!  

This winter, Sean has been working for Dallas Seavey, also a 4-time winner but the youngest musher to ever win the race. Both he and Sean will be running the race. Dallas will have the A-team and Sean the B-team. Dallas is a top competitor and a contender to win it.  The race is looking quite a bit different with all the COVID protocol. Quarantine, multiple covid tests before and during the race and about 140 miles shorter. Nevertheless, it will still be a challenging race.

Sean is only the second Georgian to do the race.

We wish Sean the best of luck in his race over the coming weeks. Please be sure to check back for updates as they are available.