The Iditarod – Man’s Best Friend Goes the Distance

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is a long-distance sled dog race, held annually in early March, from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. Mushers and a team of 16 dogs must cover the distance in 9-15 days or more.

Credit: AK_rat via Flickr

Credit: AK_rat via Flickr

According to Wikipedia, the trail is composed of 2 routes: the northern route, which is run on even-numbered years and the southern route, which is run on odd-numbered years. Both follow the same trail for 444 miles (715 km), from Anchorage to Ophir, where they diverge and then rejoin in Kaltag, 441 miles (710 km) from Nome, AK. The total distance of the race varies year to year, but officially the northern route is 1,112 miles (1,790 km) and the southern route is 1,131 miles (1,820 km).

Credit: Calliopejen via Wikipedia

Credit: Calliopejen via Wikipedia

Teams frequently race through blizzards which can cause sub-zero temperatures, whiteout conditions and gale-force winds. Wind chill can drop to -100°F (-73°C) as teams bravely trek the course! The race is the most popular sporting event in Alaska, making top mushers and dog teams local celebrities!

Credit: mdheightshiker via Flickr

Credit: mdheightshiker via Flickr

This year, the final stages of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race were coming down to either a record-tying number of wins or the first woman to claim victory in 24 years. Jeff King, a four-time champion, attempted to become the race’s second five-time winner. Aliy Zirkle, 44, who has finished second in the last two Iditarods, began the chase for King on the Bering Sea ice when she left the checkpoint. King and Zirkle have been leap-frogging each other in the latter portion of the race.

Credit: Jeff in Juneau via Flickr

Credit: Jeff in Juneau via Flickr

As it turned out, early Tuesday morning, Dallas Seavey came from behind to win the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race — his second Iditarod title — after King was blown off-course by a gust of wind. Seavey had a 3-hour deficit to overcome King and Zirkle in the last 77 miles. Congratulations Dallas Seavey!

 

Be Prepared. Know Before™.

The WeatherBug – Earth Networks Team

 

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