Jamaican musher Newton Marshall continues to build on the island’s tradition of excellence in winter adventure sports becoming the first Jamaican to complete the grueling 1,000 mile Iditarod dogsled race from Anchorage to Nome. After nearly two weeks on the trail, the 27 year old Marshall and his team crossed the finish line in Nome, Alaska on March 19, finishing 47th out of 71 starters competing in the 2010 Iditarod.
Marshall and his team of 11 dogs arrived at the finish line at 7:27 PM AKST on Friday evening to the cheers of enthusiastic supporters who were “Rootin’ for Newton” at various points along the trail. His trainer, 2010 Iditarod winner, his fourth Iditarod win, four-time Yukon Quest champion and two-time ESPN/ESPY “Toughest Athlete” nominee Lance Mackey, beamed with pride as he was on hand to greet Marshall with a huge Jamaican flag.
Marshall, who had his start at Jamaica’s Chukka Caribbean Adventures, in Ocho Rios said, “I’ve been feeling good at every checkpoint. There has been somebody saying their comments, that they’re ‘Rootin’ for Newton’. Yeah mon,” he told the crowd as he arrived. “Jamaica did it again!”
Marshall’s finishing time was 12 days, 4 hours, 27 minutes and 28 seconds. That’s just over 12 days of grit, determination, endurance and smiles that brought him to a place he’s dreamt of for a long time. The journey took him over mountains, frozen seas, through blinding storms and some seriously cold temperatures. The fact that Marshall, a rookie, finished the world’s toughest dogsled race changed the mindset of many people.
According to Marshall, “Seeing the people there for me and telling me I can do it made me see that I could finish this race.”
Marshall, one of Jamaica’s newest sports ambassadors, was elated to have worked with Mackey in preparing for the Iditarod. Marshall commented, “It was a real honor to have represented Jamaica in this non-traditional sport, whose beginnings were in helping children. It was a pleasure working with Lance and I am happy to have made my coach’s kennel and Jamaica proud.”
“We wish to extend our congratulations to Jamaican musher Newton Marshall who has emerged as a new ambassador in a non-traditional sport, building on the island’s long and distinguished history in sports,” said John Lynch, Jamaica’s Director of Tourism. “As we continue to find creative and innovative ways to ensure the destination remains top of mind for persons looking for a vacation option, we are eager to encourage visitors to come an experience firsthand, a taste of the dog sled experience at Chukka Caribbean Adventures in Ocho Rios, one of the island’s major attraction providers.” noted Lynch.