The Last Great Race on Earth Begins Saturday

Iditarod_Ceremonial_start_in_Anchorage,_Alaska

Anchorage, AK  — The 43rd running of the Iditarod gets underway tomorrow.

The Iditarod, first run in 1973 was the brainchild of Joe Redington, Sr.who wanted to preserve the dog sled culture, so important to the history of Alaska, and the historic Iditarod Trail between Seward and Nome.  The trail, long a mail and supply route from the coastal towns of Seward and Knik into the interior of Alaska was made famous when the world watched to see if the outpost in Nome, AK would perish amid a diphtheria outbreak.  20 mushers running 150 sled dogs started in Nenana, AK and ran non-stop for 674 miles over 5 days to deliver medicine to Nome.

The ~1,000 mile race has two “starts”.  A ceremonial start in Anchorage on Saturday; and the “real” start in Willow on Sunday.  This year, while the lower 48 has been blasted by cold weather and snow for the past month, the eastern section of the Alaska Range has not fared as well snow-wise.  As a result, the race will restart in Fairbanks for only the 2nd time in the history of the Iditarod (the first time was in 2003).  79 teams are entered.  By the way, the fastest run was in 2011 by John Baker … 8 days, 18 hours 46 minutes, 39 seconds and the closest margin of victory was 1 second in 1978.  Talk about winning by a nose.   You can learn more about the race or follow the race live at www.iditarod.com.

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