Still managing 15 dogs less than 300 miles from Nome, the two-time defending champion built his lead with a near unstoppable combination: steady speed and enough stamina to get through long runs, again proving naysayers wrong.
"They're just mad they can't keep up," Mackey said. "I told them they better be on their toes."
Mackey continues to push as though a team was on his shoulder, making the run from Kaltag to Unalakleet in just over 11 hours.
And for the first time since Martin Buser's record run in 2002, the same musher is first to arrive at the halfway point, the Yukon, and the coast.
Mackey was awarded $2,500 in gold nuggets for being first to Unalakleet.
"Replacement earrings -- look at that," Mackey said with a laugh.
If you're talking gold, the focus has to be on Mackey's team -- mint-condition canine athletes still running 15-strong deep into the race.
"Last checkpoint, the vet said the only thing he could find wrong is one dog had had some toenails a little too long. I had to laugh hysterically at that," Mackey said.
All that remains to be seen is whether the rest of the race becomes a laugher.
"I just want to break their heart a little bit," he said.
Mackey left Unalakleet at 10:17 p.m. bound for Shaktoolik after a rest of more than seven hours. Six other teams had arrived in Unalakleet by 11:30 p.m.
Only fourth-place Aaron Burmeister had made the 90-mile run from Kaltag faster than Mackey -- and he pulled in one minute after Mackey left.
The impressive run being authored by Mackey is not going unnoticed by his competitors.
"I don't know how he does it, I sincerely don't." Aliy Zirkle said. "Before Lance, you could see how Jeff (King) would win every other year, Mitch (Seavey) has got a huge training program and fantastic dogs -- but for someone to come in like Lance and just continually stomp the crowd is pretty phenomenal."
Also on Sunday rookie musher Kurt Reich scratched in Ophir, the fourth musher to do so out of the original 67 teams. A fifth musher, Rob Loveman, was withdrawn from the race.
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