Atlanta native competes in Iditarod sled dog race in Alaska

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A 28-year-old from Atlanta is braving the elements as he races in one of the top sled dog races in the world.

Sean Underwood is currently running in this year’s Iditarod race, a mushing competition that takes place every year in Alaska.

The Iditarod race, dubbed “Last Great Race on Earth," stretches almost 1,000 miles of the state from Anchorage to Nome. Mushers could be on the trail anywhere between eight to 15 days.

“This is an unbelievable accomplishment,” Jack Underwood, Sean’s father, told Channel 2′s partners at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“We are so proud of our son Sean. Who he is as a person and his connection and commitment to the canine athletes is humbling. It’s also admittedly emotional to see your son taking such an iconic athletic journey.”

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Underwood grew up in Atlanta and graduated from St. Pius. He later earned his degree from Georgia Southern and moved to Alaska four years ago.

According to his biography page, Underwood’s aunt and uncle put him in touch with 4-time Iditarod champion Jeff King.

He has now spent six seasons working for King while also training to compete.

The 28-year-old originally qualified and planned to compete in the Iditarod next year. His mentor King was expected to race this year, but an emergency surgery sidelined him, according to his team.

So, the race organizers granted Underwood a last-minute spot in place of King. He had only four days to prepare.

“I definitely know that people with less experience have done the Iditarod,” Underwood told the Anchorage Daily News. “So I definitely feel confident. I know how to take care of the dogs, I know how to feed the dogs and I’m running Jeff King’s team."

“That doesn’t mean I’m not stressed, anxious, overwhelmed and nervous," he said.

Underwood began his journey this weekend. You can track his progress here.

Read more about his work leading up the Iditarod here.

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