“The Great Alone” Is The Story Of One Of The Toughest Challenges On Earth — And The Man Who Won It Four Times In A Row

January 23, 2017 — The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is considered by many to be the most difficult physical challenge a human being can undergo in the name of sport. There are those who might argue that climbing Mount Everest is worse — after all, approximately 250 people have died attempting it — but in fact, more than 4,000 people have accomplished that feat.

Only 731 have managed to finish the Iditarod.

The race itself is the annual dog sled race from Settler’s Bay to Nome, Alaska. Depending on the route chosen for the year, the race covers either 975 or 998 miles. Wind chills often reach -100º F. The race itself is often 9-15 days long.

Lance Mackey is the only person who ever won the Iditarod Race in four successive years. He is also the only person to win both the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod in the same year, a feat once considered impossible — and he did it twice in a row (2007-2008). 

He certainly understands pushing himself through adversity. He started experiencing significant pain in 2001 during one of his early attempts at the race. He made it to the end, then discovered that he had squamous-cell carcinoma in his jaw and neck. An operation saved his life, but cost him, too. He lost tissue in his face and neck that was almost the size of a fist; he also lost ten teeth, his interior carotid artery, his salivary glands and arm muscle that caused significant weakness in his right arm. He has damage in his hands (he has lost a finger, and may have to lose more) and feet and, unfortunately, a susceptibility to cold.

He also has a serious susceptibility to infection, and has been told by his doctor that he should not be around dogs because the slightest scratch from them could endanger his life. But he loves his dog team and refuses to give it up.

Lance Mackey is a true original. 

The Great Alone follows him during his 2013 attempt to win a fifth Iditarod. But it is also about the relationship of the man to his beloved dogs, about his attempts to fight his personal demons and his historical connection to the race that consumes much of his time and thought.

This edition includes Special Features: behind-the-scene footage, featurettes and an exclusive Q&A with Lance Mackey at Slamdance. Also includes English Subtitles for the deaf and hearing impaired and an alternative family-friendly audio mix.

The Great Alone is available on Blu-ray and DVD or you can stream it immediately on Amazon Video.

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