Cindy Abbott arrived in Nome on March 18th, 12 days and over 1000 miles from her starting point in Fairbanks, marking the completion of the 45th Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. Winner Mitch Seavey crossed the finish line 4 days earlier, banking his third win in record time and becoming the oldest Iditarod champion in the history of the race.
The Iditarod is a piece of Alaska’s history that we have been fortunate enough to experience while living here. The race pays homage to the important role played by sled dogs in the Arctic, with much of the 1049 mile trail tracking the journey to Nome made by dog teams in 1925 to deliver antiserum for halting the spread of diptheria.
Following the ceremonial start in Anchorage, teams made their way to Fairbanks for the re-start (despite having decent snow this year, it still wasn’t enough to make the trails from Anchorage suitable). We eagerly followed their progress over the next week and a half; mushers and their dogs battled sub-zero temperatures and chilling winds, the mushers with a bare minimum of sleep as they prioritized tending to their canine companions.
The race is an amazing feat of courage, perseverance and ingenuity that we observers can only hope to understand through the stories shared by the mushers from their trails. Congratulations to the 73 teams that took the challenge this year and we’re looking forward to the 46th running.
For amazing photos from the trails and rest points, definitely check out official race photographer, Jeff Schultz’s website. Iditarod veteran, Jeff King’s memoir, Cold Hands Warm Heart, is also a great read for those interested in personal stories from the race.