With this being my first Iditarod here in Alaska, I've been curious about the history of the Iditarod race, and started digging around for information yesterday.
Most people know at least a little bit about the Iditarod history, in particular the part about the lead sled dog named Balto. The short story is that in 1925 there was a diptheria epidemic in Nome, Alaska that threatened to kill many Native Americans there, and with no other way to get the anti-toxin to Nome, people in Alaska decided to use sled dog teams to get the diptheria serum from Seward to Nenana and on to Nome.
Technically the serum was shipped by train from Seward to Nenana, and then the dog sled teams were used to get the serum to Nome, but because the serum started in Seward, it has been considered to be the start of the Iditarod Trail.
After a few false starts trying to create an Iditarod race in 1967 and 1969, the first true, 1,100 mile Iditarod race was started in 1973.
The Iditarod race begins on the first Saturday in March, which is interesting to me, because I just moved here from Kentucky, where the Kentucky Derby is run on the first Saturday in May.
The Iditarod race begins with a "ceremonial" start in Anchorage, Alaska on that Saturday, and then the race really begins with a "restart" event in Willow, Alaska on Sunday.
I've come to really enjoy all the news and events surrounding the 2011 Iditarod, but rather than repeat what I've already written, I'll just say that if you're interested in more Iditarod information, please see my Iditarod fact, history, and information page on my One Man's Alaska website.