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History of the Iditarod
The Best Finishing time in the Iditarod was 8 Days 18 Hours 46 Minutes 39 Seconds in 2011 by
Most Times Won (5)
Most Consecutive Wins (4)
First Woman to Finish
First Woman to Win
First Winner from Outside Alaska
First Winner from Overseas
The Worst Finishing time in the Iditarod was 20 days, 15 hours, 2 minutes, 7 seconds in 1974 by
Here are the annual Festivities before the Iditarod.
The Iditarod began as a series of short races in 1967 and 1969 to celebrate Alaska's Centennial (100th) Year in 1967.
The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race first ran to Nome in 1973
About 100 dogs have died while in the Iditarod.In the 2009 Iditarod it is believed that two of the dogs froze to death :(
IDITAROD COOL FACTS
Start Date: The first Saturday in March each year
Prize Money:$400,000 ($50,000 to first place)
Closest Finish:1978 -- after two weeks on the trail, Dick Mackey beat Rick Swenson by only one second!
Distance:1,049 is a symbolic figure. (A thousand mile race in the 49th State.) The actual milage is closer to 1,200 miles, depending upon the route taken. The Iditarod is the longest dog sled race in the world
Checkpoints:There are over 20 checkpoints along the trail where mushers must sign in and where each musher's 2,500 pounds of dog food has been distributed. A veterinarian is stationed at each checkpoint to provide care to the dogs.
Age Range of Mushers:18 to 81 years
Possible Temperature Extremes During Race:+45 ° F to -60 ° F
.There are two routes, the Northern and the Southern. The trail alternates each year.
The teams average 15 dogs in size, which means that more than 1,000 dogs leave Anchorage for Nome each year.
The most mushers to finish the race was 63 in 1992.
Although most of the competing mushers are Alaskans, many other states have been represented in the Iditarod, including New York, Montana, Ohio, Alabama, Texas and California.
These countries have been represented in the race: Canada, Switzerland, Norway, Great Britain, New Zealand, Russia, Japan and Italy.
Blind Musher Takes On the Iditarod
By Karen Fanning
March 2006 Jagged mountain ranges. Frozen rivers. Bone-numbing temperatures. For any musher, the Iditarod is a grueling race. But Rachael Scdoris is no ordinary musher. She is blind.
“I have a shortage of rods and cones in my eyes,” explains the 22-year-old from Bend, Oregon. Rachael was born with a vision disorder called congenital achromatopsia. “I have a lot of difficulty with fine detail and focusing on things. It’s not blurry. There’s not a lot of depth. Everything is pretty much flat.”
Despite her disability, even as a child, Rachael was determined to run “and finish” the Iditarod. On March 18, 2006, she made good on her promise. After 12 days, 10 hours, and 42 minutes on the trail, Rachael crossed the finish line in Nome, Alaska, becoming the first legally blind athlete to complete the Iditarod.
“Finishing the Iditarod was my lifelong dream,” she told reporters after conquering the Alaskan wilderness.
Rachael didn’t just complete the race—she competed. Of the 71 mushers who made it to Nome, Rachael finished 57th.
Try, Try Again
Rachael began mushing when she was no taller than the dogs. But it took eight years of begging before her father allowed her to go on a run by herself. Rachael ran her first race at age 11 and has been an active musher ever since.
Like all mushers, Rachael spent a lifetime dreaming of running the Iditarod. In June of 2003, the day after she graduated from high school, she called the Iditarod Trail Committee to ask permission to run the race with the help of two visual interpreters. Her request was denied.
“My wish list was to have two people on snow machines to tell me where to go,” says Rachael.
To follow the trail, mushers must look for markers along the way. Rachael would need someone to spot those markers for her.
“The mentality of the Iditarod is roughing it in the woods all alone, just you and the dogs, no help of any kind,” she says. “They thought I was asking for someone to come in and do everything for me, but I was just asking for someone to tell me where to go.”
Rachael wouldn’t take no for an answer. Three months later, she flew up to Alaska and met with the committee in person for six hours. She told them that she still needed assistance, but she didn’t want automatic entrance—she wanted to qualify. And that’s what she did.
Rachael ran two qualifying races in the winter of 2004. She was required to run at least 500 miles to qualify. Instead, she ran 700 miles.
A Historic Run
On March 5, 2005, Rachael lined up with dozens of the world’s top mushers at the Iditarod starting line in Anchorage, ready to take on “The Last Great Race on Earth.” Her visual interpreter, Paul Ellering, was at her side. But after traveling more than 700 miles, she was forced to drop out of the race when her dog team became ill with a virus. Rachael vowed to return in 2006. She did, and the rest is history.
As the first blind musher to run the Iditarod, Rachael received a lot of attention. She says she would rather not be thought of as “the blind musher.” Instead, she would like to be known as a “good musher with fast dogs.” Rachael refuses to waste a minute of her time feeling sorry for herself.
“Everybody has some sort of problem,” she says. “Some are more obvious than others, like mine. We have a choice. We can either sit back and say, ‘I’m blind, I’m deaf, I’m in a wheelchair, I have a short attention span’ and feel sorry for ourselves and say, ‘Poor me.’ Or we can just decide, this is what we are going to do, and if we have to work a little harder to get it done, so be it.”
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