ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - UPDATE at 1:17 p.m.:
Lance Mackey tests positive for methamphetamine.
The urine sample was taken at the White Mountain checkpoint, a standard operating procedure for the first thirty mushers arriving there.
“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," Mackey said in a statement released by the Iditarod. "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.”
Mackey's kennel, Comeback Kennel, released a statement on Facebook, saying they appreciated all the positive words of encouragement. They also acknowledged that they are not financially in a great place to afford the treatment he needs.
Mackey will return the 1,049 dollars he received as prize money in his 21st place finish as part of his disqualification.
“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.
“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,” Iditarod CEO Rob Urbach said.
Channel 2 reached out to Mackey for comment but had not heard back at the time of this posting.
The Iditarod confirmed late Thursday morning by phone that veteran musher and four-time Iditarod champion Lance Mackey's 21st place finish will be vacated due to a positive drug test.
More details to come.
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