re-sized Iditarod map

Iditarod listings of mushers for 2010 are already in…

This race is still months away, but the listings for the competitors for the 2010 Iditarod, the last great race in the world, are already in – though the race start is not until 6th March, 2010. The awards banquet will be on the 21st March. On 26th June, 2009 the first musher sign-ups for 2011 began…

The Iditarod Trail, now a National Historic Trail, had its beginnings as a mail and supply route from the coastal towns of Seward and Knik to the interior mining camps at Flat, Ophir, Ruby and beyond to the west coast communities of Unalakleet, Elim, Golovin, White Mountain and Nome. Mail and supplies went in. Gold came out. All via dog sled. Heroes were made and legends were born, as they are again and again in this, the  37th Iditarod race.

Mushers Kim Darst, front, and Rob Loveman pause to redirect their teams as they leave the Rainy Pass Iditarod checkpoint on Puntilla Lake March 10, 2009. Darst later dropped out of the race after one of her dogs, Cotton, became critically ill.

There are names which are automatically associated with the race — Joe Redington, Sr., co-founder of the classic and affectionately know as “Father of the Iditarod.” Rick Swenson from Two River, Alaska, the only five time winner, the only musher to have entered 20 Iditarod races and never finished out of the top ten. Dick Mackey from Nenana who beat Swenson by one second in 1978 to achieve the impossible photo finish after two weeks on the trail. Norman Vaughan who at the age of 88 has finished the race four times and led an expedition to Antarctica in the winter of 93–94. Four time winner, Susan Butcher, was the first woman to ever place in the top 10. And of course, Libby Riddles, the first woman to win the Iditarod in 1985.

The 2010 Iditarod sign-ups for 2010 drew a field of 60 on the first day.

Four time Iditarod Champions Jeff King and Martin Buser joined three time Iditarod Champion (2007,2008,2009) Lance Mackey along with a number of top ten Iditarod finishers at the sign ups.  19 rookies have signed up for the 2010 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, so far.

Being an ‘even’ year means that it will be the northerly route:

2010 Race Route

The Official Map of the Iditarod: Northern Route (Even Years)

You can’t compare it to any other competitive event in the world! A race over 1150 miles of the roughest, most beautiful terrain Mother Nature has to offer. She throws jagged mountain ranges, frozen river, dense forest, desolate tundra and miles of windswept coast at the mushers and their dog teams. Add to that temperatures far below zero, winds that can cause a complete loss of visibility, the hazards of overflow, long hours of darkness and treacherous climbs and side hills, and you have the Iditarod. A race extraordinaire, a race only possible in Alaska.

From Anchorage, in south central Alaska, to Nome on the western Bering Sea coast, each team of 12 to 16 dogs and their musher cover over 1150 miles in 10 to 17 days.

The Mongol Derby, which sets off on the 22nd August, is a race following in the tradition of the Iditarod in that it will be recreating Gengis Khan’s old mail route. Follow this link to see more about that race… Extreme Dreams, extreme people, extreme challenge – what else could we be talking about but Ben Fogle and the Mongol Derby

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