It’s called the Last Great Race and also considered by some to be the toughest race on Earth. The Iditarod is a dog sledding race held in Alaska each year on the first Saturday of March, where a team of Husky dogs and their driver (called a musher) go on an over 1,150 mile ride in some of the most remote and challenging territory in the world. It is extremely beautiful but it is also difficult and dangerous .
For the first time in 35 years, an Alaskan native has won the Iditarod. John Baker beat the record by over four hours. It took him 8 days, 19 hours, 46 minutes days to complete the race (that’s over 100 miles a day!). The race begins ceremonially in the city of Anchorage, but actually starts the next day in Wasilla, and goes through towns that have populations as little as 2 … and even 0! It ends in Nome (population 3,500) near the Bering Sea coast.
In 1925, dogsleds used part of the route as a kind of highway to deliver mail and supplies as well as medicines to Nome, and was the most effective way to get through. It was developed as an idea for a sledding race in 1973. The mushers compete for over $50,000 and a new truck. Each musher can have between 12-16 dogs for the race and must be well taken care of.
For some great photos, visit the Iditarod’s official photographer’s website .
And you can take a fun little quiz from National Geographic kids here .