The Iditarod Sled Dog Race
The Iditarod is a remarkable dogsled race which takes place in Alaska every year. Teams of 12-16 dogs and their musher run over 1,150 miles from Anchorage to Nome.
Taking anywhere from 10 to 17 days to complete, The Iditarod has two different routes which are alternated every year. Regardless of which route is taken, though, the participants will ride over brutal territory which includes sharp, jagged mountains, desolate frozen wastelands and dense forests.
Each year, the race attracts strong and brave men and women from many different professions and backgrounds. Lawyers, miners, doctors, and teachers have all entered at one time or another. The Iditarod is entirely organized by volunteers who help raise money for entrants and ensure the health and safety of all the people and animals involved.
So why do they do it? The Iditarod originally started as a way to commemorate and important part of Alaska’s history. The Iditarod Trail has been made a National Historic Trail, and it started out as a supply route from various coastal towns to the mining towns. Mail and supplies were sledded in and gold was sledded out, all by Alaskan Huskies and their determined mushers.
Part of the reason the Iditarod has become so legendary is because symbolically and literally, it pits man and animal against nature’s dangerous beauty. Racers and dogs have to overcome the elements if they are to finish, but they also have to reach deep down within themselves to overcome inner obstacles as well. The Iditarod is a race of brains as much as brawn, and each year’s race is as thrilling as the last.
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