The Iditarod has announced that, due to a failed drug test, Lance Mackey’s 21st place finish at the 2020 Iditarod will be vacated. Mackey’s urine sample taken in White Mountain, a standard operating procedure for the first thirty mushers arriving at the checkpoint, tested positive for methamphetamine.
“Some may have expected, known, or like myself, denied where I am in my life right now. I’m tired of lying to myself, friends, family, and fans, who have all supported me, rooted for me, or been inspired by me. I apologize to all of you. The truth is that I need professional help with my latest life challenge. I am in the process of making arrangements to go to a treatment center where I can get the professional help and real change I need. I’m ready to confront this with all of my focus and determination,” said Lance Mackey.
As part of his disqualification from the 2020 race, Mackey will also give back the $1,049 in prize money for his 21st place finish.
“While this is a very unfortunate event, we hope this disqualification will be a turning point in spurring Lance on the trail to recovery,” said Iditarod Board President Mike Mills. “The health of Lance is our top priority. He is one of our Iditarod heros who is going through a tough time in his life. Most of us have been touched by addiction in some way, and we realize how painful it can be on friends and family and how very difficult addiction can be to overcome.”
Iditarod CEO Rob Urbach noted that, “A repeat cancer survivor, four-time Iditarod champion, and truly great dog man, Lance is about to take on another challenge, and our first concern is that he finds the support and treatment he needs to get healthy and hopefully finish his most important race.”
The Iditarod asks that Mackey’s focus on his recovery and need for privacy for him and his family be respected at this time.