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start the race iditarod sled dog race. the iditarod trail sled dog race first ran in 1973. The trail they used today is called the iditarod trail, first surveyed by the alaska Road Commission in 1908 and now one of the historic trails so designated by the United States conference.

what inspired

nome children were dying in january 1925. infected with diphtheria, they wheeled and gasped into the air, bringing a new case of the deadly respiratory disease every day. single doctor nome, dr. curtis welch, fears an epidemic that could endanger the entire village of 1,400. he prescribed quarantine but knew that only serum antitoxin could keep the disease from spreading rapidly. However, the nearest batch of the rescue medication was over 1,000 miles anchored. A nome ice cube made sea transport impossible, and open cockpit planes could not fly in subzero alaska temperatures. and the nearest train station nearly 700 miles away in nano, canine power provided the best hope for nome with fast delivery. Exhaust dogs regularly hit Alaska’s snowy corridors to deliver mail, and the governor of the territory, scott c. bone, the best drivers and dog teams were recruited to stage a relay around the clock to transport the serum from nenana to nome. on the night of January 27, 1925, a train whistle reassured nenana as it came with the valuable cargo – a 20 – pound package of serum wrapped in protective fur. a “wild bill” musher tied the parcel with his sled. as he signaled, Shannon’s nine malamite paws made the snow – packed track on the first steps of a 674 mile “great mercy race” through rugged wilderness, across frozen waterways and over treeless tundra.even by alaskan standards, packing extra grip this winter night, with temperatures plummeting to 60 degrees below zero fahrenheit. while every second was valuable as the number of confirmed cases in a located nome, Shannon knew he needed to control his speed. if his dogs ran too fast and breathed too deeply in such frigid conditions, they could freeze their lungs and die if exposed. although Shannon ran near the sled to raise his own body temperature, he still developed hypothermia and frostbite on the 52 – mile to tolovana foot before giving the serum to the second team of dogs.