Greetings. As winter winds down across the northern hemisphere, the "Last Great Race on Earth" has drawn to a close again. The Iditarod, an amazing dog sled race that covers 1,150 miles from Anchorage to Nome, was once again won by Lance Mackey. This native Alaskan, who noted that he "began mushing at birth," won the event for the fourth consecutive time–a record unequaled in the 37-year history of the competition. He also was the third member of his family to win the Iditarod, following in the footsteps (or sled tracks) of his father and older brother. In keeping his title, Mackey demonstrated a rare combination of skill, knowledge, preparation, passion, and the ability to train and care for his team of dogs. A team that would make the journey together in the time of 8 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes, and 9 seconds. Only about an hour more than the record set by Martin Buser in 2002.
And while his remarkable story is definitely one of genius, so is the story of a very different fellow who finished in 47th place after covering the treacherous journey in 12 days, 4 hours, and 27 minutes. His name is Newton Marshall, and this 27-year-old first-time participant came to the race simply with a desire to finish and an excitement to see the "lovely landscape" along the way. It's worth noting that the beautiful and unforgiving terrain he and the other 60 competitors encountered was far different than the lovely landscape in his native Jamaica. And it was this incredible difference that made his quest so noteworthy. Marshall, who once worked as a gardener and a tour guide, began training for the Iditarod four years ago. Completing it in his first try was a most unlikely accomplishment.
Some people come to win a race, while others come for the journey. Some come to test themselves against a history of great performances, while others come to test themselves–against the limits of their own imaginations. Two men in their own races against the elements, along some of the most majestic snow-covered land on earth.
We win in business and in life by being the best at understanding how to navigate our most challenging terrain. And by seeing it through the most experienced and the freshest sets of eyes. The real challenge is to combine what we know with a fervent belief in what might be possible.
Cheers and have a wonderful week filled with possibilities!