Iditapod bonus: Anchorage interview with Sean Underwood

Musher Sean Underwood at the 2020 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race ceremonial start in Anchorage Saturday, March 7, 2020. (Zachariah Hughes/Alaska Public Media)

Sean Underwood got the surprise of a lifetime last week. The 28-year-old musher found out four days before the start of the 2020 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race that he’d be competing in the event. Long-time musher and four-time Iditarod champion Jeff King had to drop out of the race at the very last minute, and tapped Sean, one of his dog handlers, to fill in. And, to be clear, it wasn’t just filling in for a 1,000-mile sled dog race, but also for some of the events leading up to it. We sat down with Sean in a restaurant at an Anchorage hotel last Friday, right before a meet and greet that he was suddenly headlining with three-time Iditarod champion Mitch Seavey. We talked about how Sean got into sled dog racing and the exact moment when he found out that he’d be launched into this year’s Iditarod.

[Related: Follow all of our coverage of the 2020 Iditarod here.]

Tegan Hanlon is the digital managing editor at Alaska Public Media. Reach her at or 907-550-8447. Read more about Tegan here.

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