A Cold Race

By | Mar 20, 2009

When Lance Mackey arrived in Nome Alaska at 11:38:46 am on March 18, 2009 he became just the third to win the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race for the third consecutive time. Only Susan Butcher and Doug Swingley has won three in a row.

The race runs for over 1,100 miles between Anchorage and Nome, Alaska and begins on the 2nd Saturday in March. There are two courses, a 1,112-mile, 26 checkpoint northern route, run in even years and a 1,131-mile, 27 checkpoint southern route, run in odd years The first race was held in 1973.

The basis of the race stems from the Knik to Nome Iditorod trail dogsled mail and supply route of 1910.

Congress named the original Iditarod Trail a National Historic Trail in 1976.

The first woman to win the race was Libby Riddles on March 20, 1985. The next three races would also be won by a woman. Susan Butcher won her first of three consecutive the following year. Between 1985 and 1990, 5 of the 6 races would be won by women. Susan Butcher won again in 1990, placing second in 1989 to Joe Runyan.

The race features some of the most beautiful terrain, but is run at a time when the temperatures fall far below zero and winds that can cause a complete loss of visibility. It’s no wonder that it is referred to as “Last Great Race on Earth”.


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