Asheville man completes, wins 1,000 mile Alaskan race - FOX Carolina 21

Asheville man completes, wins 1,000 mile Alaskan race

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ASHEVILLE, NC (FOX Carolina) -

It was a long time coming for Peter Ripmaster when he crossed the finished line Saturday, March 24 in Nome, Alaska. He’s completed ultra-marathons, sled dog races, and a 350 mile Iditarod a few years back, but the 1,000 mile trek has eluded him until then.

He began the 1,000 mile trek with just his few supplies near Anchorage, Alaska on February 25th.

"Really my goal was to finish,” explained Ripmaster, “My goal was not to win the Iditarod. That was like gravy and cherry on top."

It certainly wasn’t an easy feat for Ripmaster. There was a lot of trial and error over the last few years for him to finally finish the race in 26 days, 13 hours, 44 minutes.

"That's 26 days of sleep deprivation,” explained Ripmaster, “26 days really struggling just getting through the day. I was trying my best work on mindfulness and meditation. Trying my best to just think of a day at a time."

In years past, he’s dealt with subzero temperatures, rough terrain and falling through the ice. He barely escaped with his life.

He had completed the 350 mile challenge in 2014 and 2015, but the 1,000 mile had conquered him since his first attempt in 2016.

"If you're trying to do that race for anything other than yourself,” said Ripmaster, “You'll be left in the dust."

This year was just as dangerous as the rest. He woke up one day along the Yukon River under a foot of snow and danger nearby.

“I realized there were wolves all over,” he described, “They're up on the ridge above me and they're howling. It was a pretty rough start to that day."

However, he pushed on, keeping in the back of his mind how it felt when he quit the race the past two years.

Still weary almost a week later, the husband and father of two daughters says he hopes his journey will inspire others to take the first step to achieving their goals.

"And not being sucked into the adult world and giving up on your dream,” explained Ripmaster, “Thinking oh well it's too late."

What do you get for winning this grueling race? A t-shirt, a patch and a coffee mug.

Ripmaster says he won’t be doing this race again anytime soon. Instead, he’s going to focus on his family and ultra-marathons.

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