"No one's ever done four in a row. Ain't bad" Dick said.
"I'm ready to get this over this. My dogs are all fat, they're gonna waddle out of here like a bunch of pigs, but that's alright," Mackey said before leaving White Mountain.
That statement is tribute to the grind of the Iditarod. Nine days earlier, 71 mushers began their quest for the title, but for the fourth consecutive time, the same person has out-ran, outsmarted and out-willed the competition.
The 39-year-old cancer survivor made history on Tuesday, triumphantly crossing beneath Nome's burled arch on Front Street at 2:59 p.m. with 11 dogs in harness, further burnishing his already luminous legend.
His time of 8 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes, 9 seconds is the second-fastest on record, behind only Martin Buser's record of 8:22:46:02.
"Eight days, huh? Unbelievable," Mackey said when told of his winning time, adding that he "had no idea" he was within a couple hours of the record.
"I would have sped up a little bit."
Two other people had won three straight Iditarods: Doug Swingley and the late Susan Butcher. Neither could pull off a fourth. Mackey joins an elite group of mushers with four overall victories: Swingley, Butcher, Buser and Jeff King, Mackey's irascible nemesis. Rick Swenson is the only five-time winner.
"This is for all my fans, for the people who believed it could happen -- because there were a lot of people that didn't believe this was possible," he said. "I drew the right number, number 49. This is representing the whole State of Alaska and the people who believed in me."
His victory was also a triumph over what many, including Mackey, believe was an attempt by other mushers to accomplish through the rule book what they could not do on the Iditarod Trail.
Several mushers complained to the Iditarod Trail Committee about Mackey's admitted use of marijuana during the race. Mackey has a medical marijuana card and is quite open about using the drug to help cope with the lasting effects of his battle with throat cancer.
As a result, the ITC implemented drug testing on the trail this year. So far no one has been disqualified for a failed test. Mackey said before the race he would not use while on the trail.
Many longtime observers felt like the complaints about drug use served as extra motivation for the man who was already chasing Iditarod immortality.
"It apparently didn't change the outcome of the race," Mackey said. "I felt that it was a little bit of finger pointing, absolutely. I guess I don't have to worry about that anymore."
Mackey bested a field that included King, Buser, Swenson, and a man who soundly defeated him in another 1,000-mile race a few weeks ago, Yukon Quest champion Hans Gatt.
To do so, he used his signature move: the nearly nonstop marathon run to blow past resting competition.
"They are as good as anybody in this sport," Mackey said. "If you're going to race against somebody of that caliber you have to be on your toes at all times. I got beat by Hans earlier in the year by that team in the Yukon Quest, and I knew it was a little bit faster this year than I was. And Jeff, he's always a stiff competitor."
After starting 49th from Willow on March 7, Mackey started picking off teams:
Mackey made the run from Nulato to Unalakleet in 18 hours, 27 minutes, plus a seven-minute stop in Kaltag.
No one -- not the previously front-running King, not Gatt, not 2009 Iditarod runner-up Sebastian Schnuelle -- could equal Mackey's stamina on the brutal Iditarod Trail.
The race coming down to Mackey's 132-mile run from Nulato to Unalakleet where he took the lead for good.