Friday, August 1, 2008

Iditarod-- The Last Great Race On Earth

Wasilla, Alaska is home to the Iditarod headquarters where all race records and business matters are centered.

It is also a place of tribute to mushers, dogs and significant people in the race history.

The Iditarod Sled Dog Race got it's start in 1925 when children in the isolated Bering Sea town of Nome, Alaska were sick with diphtheria and in need of medicine.

It was too cold for planes of that time to fly so the only hope was a team of sled dog mushers who set out to relay a life saving serum to Nome across 674 miles of the most difficult backcountry terrain known to man.

The sled trail began in Seward, an all weather port, and this is considered the historic mile "0". However, the nearest serum at the time was in Anchorage and thus Anchorage was the start of the 1925 epic run.  Serum was shipped by train until it became stuck in snow and then by 20 dog relay teams the last 674 miles to Nome.

The race today has two starts on the first Saturday in March. The first is a ceremonial start in Anchorage with a paying rider in each sled.

 After running down main street the dogs and sleds are trucked to nearby Wasilla where the actual race begins to Nome for a total of over 1100 miles. Winning time is usually around nine days.

Below are trophies awarded to mushers who arrive first at certain points along the race trail.

                             Judy giving me the "Can I have it " look.

Me with my new "rig" wondering how I'm going to make it to Nome 1100 miles away in nine days with this bunch of clowns.

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