This woman's got some grit, folks.
Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race musher Cindy Abbott became the race’s 66th and final finisher for 2015 Sunday evening, earning its Red Lantern award for being the last musher to reach Nome.
Iditarod spokeswoman Julie Busch in Nome confirmed that Abbott had finished at about 9:15 p.m. Sunday. Official race standings subsequently updated to reflect her arrival at 9:19 p.m., logging a total time of 13 days, 11 hours, 19 minutes and 51 seconds.
Abbott’s final time puts her more than four and a half days behind Dallas Seavey’s race-winning finish early Wednesday after eight days, 18 hours, 13 minutes and six seconds.
Abbott’s Iditarod biography said she was diagnosed with Wegener’s granulomatosis, a rare disease causing inflammation of the blood vessels, shortly after she began training for an ascent of Mount Everest in 2007.
Abbott first attempted The Last Great Race in 2013, only to suffer a leg injury after just 20 miles on the trail. When she felt better after a few hours’ rest, she continued to the next checkpoint.
“In this way, Cindy went from checkpoint to checkpoint until, on day 10 and 630 miles into the race, her condition worsened and, for the safety of her team, she scratched at Kaltag,” the biography said. “When she got back to Anchorage, she was told that her pelvis was broken in two places.”
Abbott took a second run at the Iditarod in 2014, but poor weather and a shoulder injury forced her to scratch at Rohn. Despite the second setback, she was undeterred in her hopes to reach Nome this year, carrying a special banner from the National Organization of Rare Diseases with which she finally summited Everest in 2010.
“This time she plans on getting her NORD banner photo standing under the Burled Arch,” the biography said.
She's got toughness that most of us will never experience. Well done, Cindy!