Tuesday, March 5
Swingley says he won't try to win

Associated Press

RAINY PASS, Alaska -- Champion musher Doug Swingley on Tuesday gave up any chance of winning a fourth straight Iditarod.

He said he will not try to win this year's race, although he will complete the competition.

Swingley, of Lincoln, Mont., is far back in the field of 62 mushers in the 1,100-mile race to Nome. He said he might enter other races next year.

"This is my victory lap," he said after arriving at the Rainy Pass checkpoint. "I'm retiring from competitive racing. You won't see me up front anymore. I've done what I set out to do."

Swingley, who has won a total of four Iditarods, baffled race watchers Monday by arriving at Finger Lake just after noon and settling in as other mushers passed him.

Some suspected the 48-year-old Swingley was employing a wily strategy. He hinted as much, saying he was "sandbagging," or deceiving his opponents.

But after arriving in Rainy Pass following a 17-hour rest in Finger Lake, Swingley said he was setting competition aside -- for now, at least.

"I'm seeing people I haven't seen in a long time and having a great time just running my puppies," he said. "I'm just taking a sabbatical.

"Maybe next year I'll run the (Yukon) Quest or something like that."

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