I mentioned a few weeks ago that Dad and I had journeyed around town for Fur Rondy, including a stop at the Ceremonial Start of the great Iditarod race. Now, I am a bit behind on this, the race has been over for a little over two weeks, but it seems like the ideal opportunity to share the photos I got of the race teams oh so long ago! A little bit of dog sleds to ring the the spring, that makes total sense. Doesn’t it?
Now, for a bit of background, the Iditarod race started back in 1925 with a, now famous, run to Nome, Alaska to deliver diphtheria serum. You might remember the story from the animated movie Balto, about the heroic dog who leg the pack on the trecherous trail. There’s also a statue of him in Central Park. (But really, the dog you SHOULD know about is Togo. Namesake for Girl Scout Camp Togowoods where I had one fond summer)
Since then, well, for the last 40 years. You do the math, I’m not too good at it. English major, what can I say. Anyway, the trail has become a great sporting event up here in Alaska for both mushers and dogs. This year the trail once again ran from Anchorage to Nome, a total of almost 1,000 miles! Well, ok, so it actually “officially” started in Willow, not Anchorage. But, part of the reason the race from Willow to Nome is not quite 1,000 miles is because of the tacked on “ceremonial” start in Anchorage which itself is 20+ miles long. Enough chatter, here’s a map I found via the Anchorage Daily News Website, which during race time was interactive.
As mentioned, Dad and I went to the ceremonial start in Anchorage, and while we weren’t in the thick of things Downtown, we had a great view of the teams rushing by as we cheered them on and I snapped photos. Including one of this guy:
Here are some other great shots I got of the mushers as they made their way towards Willow (eventually, the next day) to begin the race!
It was snowing a bit that day, can you tell?
There were 67 racers and teams this year, out of which 53 finished and, unlike what has sadly happened in the past, no dogs died on the trail for the third year in a row! This is a big thing for mushers, the Idiatrod big-wigs, and the fans alike. These dogs are treated like little furry kings and, as you can tell from some of the photos, they love running and pulling the sleds. It is literally what they were made to do.
I know I left out a lot of information on the race in general, so please if you have any questions feel free to ask via comment or email!