The 2021 running of the Iditarod starts on March 6th!
This sled dog event is often alleged to retrace the 1925 serum run to Nome, also known as the Great Race of Mercy and The Serum Run, which was a transport of diphtheria antitoxin by dog sled relay across the U.S. territory of Alaska by 20 mushers and about 150 sled dogs across 674 miles (1,085 km) in 5 ½ days, saving the small town of Nome and the surrounding communities from a developing epidemic.
Although that event is an extremely important event in the history of Alaska, the fact is, the founders of the race did not take the Serum Run into account when creating the race. For Joe Redington, Sr., often remembered as the “Father of the Iditarod” and his two closest founder partners, Tom Johnson and Gleo Huyck. both mushers and teachers, there were two important reasons for the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. He is quoted in Nan Elliot’s book, I’d Swap my Old Skidoo for You, “When I went out to the villages (in the 1950’s) where there were beautiful dogs once, a snow machine was sitting in front of a house and no dogs. It wasn’t good. I didn’t like that I’ve seen snow machines break down and fellows freeze to death out there in the wilderness. But dogs will always keep you warm and they’ll always get you there.” He was determined to bring back the sled dog to Alaska and to get the Iditarod Trail declared as a National Historic Trail. “I wanted to preserve the Iditarod Trail, the old freight and mail trail from Seward to Nome that brought gold out of the interior of Alaska. I also wanted to save the Alaskan husky and the sled dog culture that had always been such an important part of Alaska’s history.”
For more information about the 2021 Iditarod visit www.Iditarod.com