For all the people outside of Alaska in the lower forty eight, the Iditarod is something you may or may not have heard of. Up here and to many fans around the world, its like the Alaskan Super Bowl!
Now that I’ve been in Fairbanks for almost 6 months, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to learn more about the mushing community, the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod. I was even able to drive a dogsled team myself out on the Tanana River this winter. When Togo Run an award-winning global health communications agency with offices in New York, Washington, D.C. and London asked me if I’d be their “on the scene” reporter to help with their campaign to Tell Togo’s Tale I was thrilled!
A link to the “Our Story” page on Togo Run’s website.
A link to Togo Run’s blog Unleashed featuring photos of me with some of the mushers and coverage of the events
So what is the origin of the Iditarod?
From Wikipedia: During the 1925 serum run to Nome, also known as the “Great Race of Mercy”, 20 mushers and about 150 sled dogs relayed diphtheria antitoxin 674 miles (1,085 km) by dog sled across the U.S. territory of Alaska in five and a half days, saving the small city of Nome and the surrounding communities from an incipient epidemic.
A link to the full description including a map of the Serum Run route
On a longer trail, but starting out in Anchorage and ending in Nome, the now famous 1,049 mile race first run in 1973 is the current day Iditarod.
The official race kickoff was this weekend in Anchorage starting with the Mushers Banquet downtown on Thursday night, then the ceremonial start on 4th Avenue Saturday, followed by the real start of the race known as the “re-start” on Sunday out in Willow.
I had a chance to speak with many of the mushers, fans, handlers and spectators; the enthusiasm for The Last Great Race on Earth® was something I will not soon forget!
The Mushers Banquet
Ceremonial start Saturday morning on 4th Avenue, downtown Anchorage
The Official Iditarod Re-Start. Sunday March 3, 2013 in Willow
Some close ups of the amazingly beautiful and brave dogs that make this race possible
Here’s a quick video clip of Lance Mackey I took heading off on the trail as a reward for reading all the way to the end!
Thanks and see you in Nome!