This Saturday, March 2 the 47th Iditarod will begin. 52 mushers and their sled dog teams will run 1000 miles of rough terrain from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska, contending with mountains, frozen rivers, sub-zero temperatures, and sleep deprivation. The route roughly follows historic mail routes from the early 20th century, when gold came out and mail and supplies went in via dog sled, and which in 1925 was crucial to supplying diphtheria antitoxin to Nome. If you enjoy following extreme or endurance sports, love working dogs, or just want to know more about the event history and types of people who run this race, check out these items.
The Cruelest Miles by Gay Salisbury
This is the full story of the serum run that gives the Iditarod its legendary route. In the winter of 1925, Nome was isolated and on the cusp of a deadly diphtheria outbreak, with a desperate need for antitoxin. Airplanes still couldn’t consistently handle cold temperatures, and nothing else could make it through. So the serum was taken by rail from Seattle as far as it could go, and then dog mushers transported it the final 650 miles over 5 days. If you’ve only ever heard of one sled dog, it’s likely Balto, the lead dog of the last team. Continue reading “Read along: Iditarod 2019”