Mark Gillett

Come back frequently……

Lance Mackey

with 15 comments

I thought about the title for this piece and thought a bit more… Then a bit more and all I could come up with was Lance Mackey. There is so much about this man and the more time I spend on the Quest, the more I notice.

I just watched him pull into Braeburn, his face hardened from the tortuous journey but not just that. It seems to tell his whole story without a single word. His eyes are a piercing blue and with that thousand yard stare that so many of them have at this stage. His hat sits in the same way as it did the day he set out, his beard at the same length. But everything is a little bit rougher than 9 days ago. His voice drones a bit more because of the tiredness but what does not seem to change is the real Lance. The deep down man who has a passion for life that exists in so few people.

Lance Mackey has seen his fair share of life’s problems. Most would say more than his share and I think I would agree. But to look at him at this stage of the race he certainly shows no signs of the hardships he has had to deal with.

He sits in Braeburn with his team around him but still willing to chat to anyone. He eats his lunch or is it breakfast for him? I am sure not even he knows. Whilst in here my wife watches his videos from the Livestrong series. She cries inside. This man has touched her in the same way as he has touched so many people with what he does and who he “be”.

I remember back to the interview at the bar “a beer with the mushers”.. And his comments on how he would do in the race… “one in 24” was his reply… I have asked him 4 times since and now we are down to “one in 20” with a laugh after he says it. Lance is a true competitor and a real sportsman too. He focusses hard but also cares about the world around him. The beauty that the Yukon and Alaska has given him. His team…. Everything about life.

I will follow Lance to the line. Who knows right now where he will finish but one thing is for sure, he will win. He never loses in life and he has a great following for good reason. I am sure there will be many tears when he crosses the line yet again.

Lastly, his sponsor Canada Goose has a series of people on their list called Goose People. Lance fits proudly with this brand and their philosophy. I would be proud to have Lance as one of my ambassadors if I was in that line of business. He is a great man…….

Written by markgillett

February 13, 2012 at 11:15 pm

15 Responses

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  1. Thank you for sharing, yes he has inspired me as well. He is a genuine sportsman, who is never to tired or put out to talk to people, I would love to meet him one day! I have backed him for a number of years, and whether he and his team come in 1st or last he is still the winner! Go Team McKay, may your trail be clear and the wind be at your back! Hike on

    Cherie Cox

    February 13, 2012 at 11:33 pm

  2. This man is inpsiring to all, thanks for the story and updates from Yukon Quest, especially for us mushers that are not aceesible to that far north just yet, yukon quest and LAnce are encouraging reminders why i have dogs, their leading me into life,healing and adventure everyday. so thanks again. Bigdog.


    February 13, 2012 at 11:39 pm

  3. You captured a little of why we love this guy! Thanks!

    Beth Miller

    February 13, 2012 at 11:39 pm

  4. I can attest to Lance’s graciousness in talking to fans. After the 2009 Iditarod ended and we were all waiting to head out of Nome, Mt. Redoubt erupted and left visitors, mushers and dogs alike stranded in Nome. While eating in our favorite cafe overlooking the Bering Sea, Lance walked in and sat at the table next to us. We didn’t want to bother him while he ate, but afterwards, he was very willing to chat with us for awhile! Great memories of a super star!


    February 14, 2012 at 12:45 am

  5. I met Lance at the 2007 DogPower Conference. Sat at his table for dinner! He and his wife are so amazing in their “nature to fit in” – they felt like old friends by the end of the evening! I’m so proud of his successes, with his health and with his dogs and with his family!

    Here’s to another #1 Iditarod finish in 2012!!!! WOOHOO! Go Lance!

    February 14, 2012 at 12:46 am

  6. I was privileged to hear Lance speak. He is unbelievably passionate about his dogs and about mushing. He is inspiring and I wish him happy trails. Thanks for the great article.


    February 14, 2012 at 12:54 am

  7. A fine tribute to a champion in every sense of the word, an empowering ambassador for his sport, and an inspiration for believing in oneself and pursuing your dreams.

    Helen Hegener

    February 14, 2012 at 8:19 am

  8. Lance is nothing short of amazing. He pulls strength out of thin air when most of us would say why go on, he would look you straight in the eye and say “why not”. I am proud to call him my friend.

    Theresa Daily

    February 14, 2012 at 8:58 am

  9. Lance is the real deal. Thanks for writing so eloquently about him.


    February 14, 2012 at 9:03 am

  10. Great Story… We are all going to be looking forward to the Wrap Story on this Race. What You Saw, What you Heard, what you Felt, in Detail. The Wonders you Experienced during this years Quest. You guys (& gals) have done a Great Job with Picturing the Scene of this years race, but what has it been like? The High points and the Lows from the Crews perspective… Thanks for showing the Yukon Quest as it really is.

    Wm. G. (Big Bill) OLiver

    February 14, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    • Its coming…. Thank you


      February 14, 2012 at 9:38 pm

  11. I’ve never met Lance, but he inspires me too. Everything I read and hear about this man is admirable: a champion in every meaningful sense of the word. Thanks for this great article!

    Jane Eagle

    February 14, 2012 at 9:41 pm

  12. Mark, you have a powerful way with words that capture the quiet, intense strength of this man. As long as I have known Lance I’ve been impressed and I know my support will remain steadfast.

    Janet Tremer

    February 17, 2012 at 7:06 am

  13. Im cheering you on Lance!


    March 8, 2012 at 12:47 am

  14. I cannot belive that you wrote about Mackey and I missed it! I knew about him and who he is several years ago and only when I decided to surprise my husband this Valentine’s Day (his Birthday) with a cruise to Alaksa, did I really start paying attention to Mackey. After having read his book, it really didn’t matter his position in the race..he truly is an inspiration regardless. Thank you for noticing that. Now, I need to catch up on the foot race that I have managed to miss out on!


    April 13, 2012 at 1:06 am

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