News about Iditarod 2014
This weekend is the 41st edition of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, Alaska’s annual long-distance sled dog race. The competition, which began as a challenge between mushers to find the best team of dogs, is one of the most competitive races that exists nowadays. Mushers from all over the world and their team of 16 sled dogs cover a distance slightly less than 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers). The winner receives $50,400, as well as a new truck. The fastest mark was 8 days, 19 hours, 46 minutes, and 39 seconds achieved by John Baker in 2011. Each team includes twelve to sixteen dogs, out of which a minimum of six must be pulling the sled when the finish line is crosses. If a dog is injured or exhausted, it must be transported to the next point to get medical assistance. To ensure the well being of the four-legged athletes, a veterinary diary is written by the musher and signed by a veterinarian in each checkpoint, which are 26 on the northern route and 27 on the southern route. No more dogs may be added during the race.
The journey between Anchorage, Alaska’s capital, and Nome, a city on the coast of the Bering Sea, changes direction every year. The trail goes in the northern direction during even years and follows a southern direction in odd years, covering 975 and 998 miles respectively enduring snow storms and temperatures that reach up to −100 °F (−73 °C). Both are part of one of the four National Historical Trails: the Iditarod, named after the town that in 1910 was the center of the Mining District and later an abandoned town at the end of the gold rush.Travelers used this route in early times to deliver the mail and groceries as well as to move the gold, and fur to Anchorage.
Yesterday, Saturday, March 3rd, like every year, an open ceremony was held in Anchorage to cheers the 66 competing mushers and their teams. Fans from every corner of the world had the opportunity to meet the mushers and their teams, which were the center of attention. For instance, Jamaican musher Newton Marshal’s 30 year-old birthday was celebrated by a huge crowd that sang him Happy Birthday. Also, local competitor Scott Janssen and his dogs were present. The latter have been blessed by a Catholic priest, a Russian Orthodox priest and a minister from a Korean church. In addition, the new and first outsider Noah Pereira, a 16 year-old musher from Clarkson, New York, became the first out-of-state musher to win the Jr. Iditarod since it began in 1977, when he defeated 12 other teams among which was the former junior champion Conway Seavey.