Health issues cloud 4-time Iditarod champ’s future in sport

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A former four-time Iditarod champion is experiencing health ailments that might affect his future in the sport.

Lance Mackey won the race from 2007 to 2010 but is at the back of the pack in this year’s race. The cancer survivor also suffers from Raynaud’s syndrome, a condition that can limit circulation in hands and feet.

Mackey says he had to remove his mittens to untangle his dog team this week, and his hands haven’t been right since. The musher says he can’t put booties on dogs with his stiff, black-and-blue fingers.

His brother, fellow musher Jason Mackey, is staying alongside him to help.

On a video posted on the Iditarod website, an emotional Lance Mackey says he loves the sport. But, in his words, “I can’t do it no more.”

Meanwhile, Iditarod officials reported late Thursday that one of Mackey’s dogs died Thursday. A news release said the animal died suddenly between Tanana and Ruby. A necropsy will be conducted.

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