Monday, March 5, 2012

Hey, Mushers!

So.  As you may or may not know, Sunday was the start of the 40th running of the Iditarod Dog Sled Race.

Of course, I've heard about the race, but I didn't really know much about it.  So, I went to the official Iditarod Dog Sled Race site for a little info.

I was happy to learn that it was a woman, Dorothy Page, the chairwoman of the 100th Anniversary of Alaska Statehood Committee, who conceived the idea of a dog sled race on the Iditerod Trail.  Dorothy's idea met a champion in fellow Alaskan Joe Redington, Sr. and his wife Vi.  Together, their hard work and enthusiasm produced the 1967 Centennial race. That first race ran the 56 miles between Knik and Big Lake, Alaska and "commemorated the part that sled dogs played in the settlement of Alaska" where, during the late 1890's and early 1900's, the only means of transportation during the winter was dog sled.  The trail used by the early settlers -- the Iditarod Trail -- became a major "thoroughfare" in Alaska, a route used to move mail, supplies and people and now the route of an incredible dog sled race.  

In 1973 the first "official" race was run with an expanded route of approximately 1,100 miles.  1,100 MILES.  Race teams travel from one checkpoint to another, just as the mushers who carried mail and freight did in the early years.  The winner of the 1973 race finished in 20 days, 15 hours, two minutes and seven seconds.  To date, the fastest running was in 2002 when the winner crossed the finish line after only 8 days, 22 hours, 46 minutes and 2 seconds.

Check out the website for lots of information about the race including trivia and some "Mushing Terminology."  (I especially like the term "Swing Dog."  The swing dog runs directly behind the leader and his/her job is to help "swing" the team through turns and curves.  I think there are a lot of people who are "Swing Dogs" and our lives are better for them.)

Before the Iditarod comes around next year, I think I'm going to let the mushers up there in Alaska know that if they need to replace any of their dogs, Erika and I have some they might be interested in borrowing: 


Sarge said...

Wow, what great pix! You would all make wonderful sled pooches. Be sure to wear your sweaters and's cooooold up there! BOL.
Grr and Woof,
Sarge, COP

scotsmad said...

They look like a couple of good mushers!

XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

But we think they may be a bit slow....short legs and all.

XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy