Iditarod: Meet the British woman who is the youngest ever dog musher

Written by Staff Writer

Lilian Laporte, CNN

It was a fairly straightforward premise for a young 16-year-old.

“I ran the first boy off-road rally before I graduated from high school,” said Caitlin Devries, the British teen who made history by becoming the youngest ever driver to complete the Iditarod — the world’s most famous off-road sled dog race.

For her first run of the race, Devries was tasked with a job no other female driver had attempted before — as a passenger on a team of dogs.

Caitlin Devries on the start line of the Iditarod. Credit: Craig Mone/AP/Barcroft Images

Before embarking on her quest, Devries considered her options. “What else could I try? How can I take on this challenge of a man vs. woman?” she said. “What is the best thing for me to do?”

Devries was eventually persuaded by family, friends and staff to enter. She placed 18th and 18th.

Despite the rough terrain and cold temperatures, it was an exhilarating experience. “That’s when I really learned that it’s OK to run on three legs,” she said.

For Devries, there was no intention to remain a part of the pack — with a female competitor — for long. “That experience helped me realize that I want to push my limits to see where the next stage takes me.”

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