4-time Iditarod winner Lance Mackey just before the start of the 2011 race Lance feels good about his chances. (Double click to enlarge)
Iditarod Watch some quick clips of the Iditarod. (23sec)
2015 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race
The 2015 Iditarod starts March 7th.
Amazing 2014 Iditarod Action Footage
THE "LAST GREAT RACE"
Over 1,000 miles of the roughest, most beautiful terrain Mother Nature has to offer
Crosses jagged mountain ranges, frozen rivers, dense forests, desolate tundra and miles of windswept coast
Temperatures that fall far below zero, winds that can cause complete lack of visibility, overflow, longs hours of darkness
Competitors from all walks of life all vying for an Ididarod Official Finishers belt buckle and the right to say "I finished the Iditarod".
Thousands of volunteers from Anchorage to Nome who make it all happen
At the turn of the 20th century The Iditarod Trail was used as a mail and supply route from the coastal towns of Seward and Knik to the interior mining camps at Flat, Ophir, Ruby and beyond
Mail and supplies went in, gold came out - all via dog sled in the winter
Gold mining began to wane, people went back to where they had come from, and the trail was used less and less
Airplanes ( in the 1920's) signaled the beginning of the end of dog team travel in interior Alaska
In 1925, part of the trail became a life saving highway as diphtheria threatened Nome and life-saving serum was taken by dog teams in relays from Nenana to Nome
The late Dorothy G Page and the late Joe Redington, Sr. organized a short distance race in 1967 to commemorate the early use of the trail and the dog teams. That race was part of Alaska's Centennial celebration that year.
After a second short race in 1969, the first "long distance" Iditarod (from Anchorage to Nome) ran in 1973, the first of what has been 36 sled dog races along this trail.
Congress declared the Iditarod Trail a National Historic Trail in 1978.
You can't compare it to any other competitive event in the world! A race over 1150 miles of the roughest, most beautiful terrain Mother Nature has to offer. She throws jagged mountain ranges, frozen river, dense forest, desolate tundra and miles of windswept coast at the mushers and their dog teams. Add to that temperatures far below zero, winds that can cause a complete loss of visibility, the hazards of overflow, long hours of darkness and treacherous climbs and side hills, and you have the Iditarod.
Iditarod trail served as a supply route for
materials from the coastal towns of Seward and
Knik to the gold fields and camps in Northwest
Alaska in the early 1900's. Mushers hauled mail
and supplies to towns such as Iditarod and Nome
and brought out just-mined gold. In 1925, it
gained international fame when a team of
mushers and dogs raced against time and the
elements to relay diphtheria serum to Nome. The
Ididarod Trail Sled Dog Race originated in 1973
Frequently teams race through blizzards causing whiteout conditions, and sub-zero weather and gale-force winds which can cause the wind chill to reach -100 °F (-75 °C). The trail runs through Alaska, from the city of Anchorage in the southcental region of the state, up the Rainy Pass of the Alaska Range into the sparsely populated Interior, and then along the shore of the Bering Sea, finally reaching Nome in western Alaska. The teams cross a harsh but starkly beautiful landscape under the canopy of the Northern Lights, through tundra and spruce forests, over hills and mountain passes, and across rivers. While the start in Anchorage is in the middle of a large urban center, most of the route passes through widely separated towns and villages, and small Athapaskan and Inuit settlements. The Iditarod is regarded as a symbolic link to the early history of the state, and is connected to many traditions commemorating the legacy of dog mushing.
Today, the race has grown into an international
contest with an average of 60 mushers from
Alaska, Canada, the lower 48, Europe and Japan
and South America. The youngest musher ever to
race was 18 years old, the oldest was 86 years
old. Sled dog racing is the only professional
sport where men and women compete equally;
there are no men's and women's divisions. In
1985 Libby Riddles was the first woman to win
the Iditarod. Susan Butcher won the next 3
consecutive years and again in 1990. A popular
saying during the 1980's was "Alaska, where men
are men, and women win the Iditrod".
The ceremonial race start begins on the first
Saturday in March in downtown Anchorage. The
main street is blocked off and transformed into
a sled dog track. Hundreds of cheering
spectators line the street the morning of the
race to watch the preparation and start of the
Iditarod. The official start of the race is the
next day in Wasilla or Willow, depending upon
the weather conditions.
Nome gained fame more than 100 years ago for
the fabulous wealth found in its mountains and
its beaches of gold. In 1925, Nome gained a
different kind of worldwide fame. A diphtheria
epidemic struck the town, and bad weather
prevented the delivery of serum by air from
Anchorage. The serum was forwarded by train
north to Nenana and then by
dogsled relay to Nome. The delivery brought
everlasting fame to Balto, the lead dog of the
final team. This race against time was the
inspiration for the Iditarod Sled Dog Race and
several movies. Nome is now the finish line for