The Iditarod is widely known as the last great race. Sled dogs race from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. The race commemorates the 1925 serum run in which vaccine was carried nearly 700 miles by dogsled to help ward off a Diptheria epidemic. Twenty mushers and 100 dogs relayed to get the vaccine to where it was needed through temperatures of -30 degrees F and wind chill of -85F.
Gunnar Kassen ran the final leg into Nome with Balto, a Siberian Husky, leading his team. The two became celebrities and Balto has a statue in Central Park, New York City. Some controversy surround this as Leonhard Seppala whose dog team was lead by Togo actually ran the serum the farthest, through the most treacherous miles. Togo was 12 years old at the time and although considered small for a sled dog became a true American hero.
Sled dogs are true athletes and love to pull and race. The canine participants have mandatory rest breaks and are monitored by veterinarians throughout the race.
This year’s race begins March 2 and should last 8 – 10 days. Four time winner Lance Mackey and last year’s winner Dallas Seavey, the younger person ever to win the race will be among the participants.
May the best dogs win!