Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race

(redirected from Last Great Race)
Also found in: Acronyms.

Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race

Early March
The Iditarod is the world's longest and toughest sled dog race, across the state of Alaska from Anchorage on the south-central coast to Nome on the Bering Sea just south of the Arctic Circle. It commemorates a 650-mile mid-winter emergency run to take serum from Nenana to Nome during the 1925 diphtheria epidemic. The race, which began in 1973, follows an old frozen-river mail route and is named for a deserted mining town along the way.
About 70 teams compete each year, and the winner is acclaimed the world's best long-distance dog musher. In 1985, Libby Riddles, age 28, was the first woman to win the race, coming in three hours ahead of the second-place finisher. It took her 18 days. Susan Butcher won in 1986, and again in 1987, 1988, and 1990. In 1991, Rick Swenson battled a howling blizzard on the last leg to win and become the first five-time winner (1977, 1979, 1981, 1982). His prize money was $50,000 out of the $250,000 purse. The 1992 winner, Martin Buser, set a record time of 10 days, 19 hours, and 17 minutes. Buser set a new record of 8 days, 22 hours, and 46 minutes when he took his fourth win in 2002.
Mushers draw lots for starting position at a banquet held in Anchorage a couple of days before the race. Each musher, with a team of anywhere from 8 to 18 dogs, can expect to face 30-foot snowdrifts and winds of up to 60 miles an hour.
A number of events are clustered around the running of the race. At Wasilla, near Anchorage, Iditarod Days are held on the beginning weekend of the race and feature softball, golf on ice, fireworks, and snow sculptures. Anchorage stages an International Ice Carving Competition that weekend, with ice carvers from around the world creating their cold images in the city's Town Square. At Nome, the Bering Sea Ice Golf Classic, a six-hole golf tournament, is played on the frozen Bering Sea during the second week of the race.
Various organizations have campaigned against the Iditarod and other sled dog races because of the risks to the dogs and alleged mistreatment. Iditarod organizers provide each dog with a physical examination before the race, yet, according to newspaper reports, it is not unusual for at least one dog each year to die from exhaustion or injuries sustained during the race.
CONTACTS:
Iditarod Trail Committee, Inc.
P.O. Box 870800
Wasilla, AK 99687
907-376-5155; fax: 907-373-6998
www.iditarod.com
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
501 Front St.
Norfolk, VA 23510
757-622-7382; fax: 757-622-0457
www.peta.org
SOURCES:
BkHolWrld-1986, Mar 24
HolSymbols-2009, p. 398
References in periodicals archive ?
Known as "The Last Great Race on Earth," the Iditarod finish and awards banquet is in Nome.
Known as "The Last Great Race on Earth," the Iditarod restart for the 68 teams signed up to compete is in Willow, 2.
T-shirts, coffee mugs, key rings, hats, jewelry, other apparel, pins, calendars, books, toys, stuffed animals and school material also help provide revenue for The Last Great Race.
Now known as "The Last Great Race on Earth," the event has won worldwide acclaim and interest.
With more than 36 miles of dog mushing trails and countless acres to roam, Anchorage goes dog crazy with numerous races starting with events during Fur Rendezvous, a 10-day winter carnival, and ending with the Last Great Race on Earth.
And for some Alaska communities and businesses, the Last Great Race translates into serious money.
Since 1989, when Udd assumed ownership of the dealership, the Anchorage Chrysler Dodge Center has donated the Official Iditarod Dodge Ram pick-up truck to the winner of the Last Great Race.
What organizers can sell is the mystique and macho of Alaska and "The Last Great Race On Earth.
BEING one of the last great races of the season, the St Leger has often been the last throw of the dice for the needy and the greedy.