|| Mary Shields
The Iditarod has a rich history. It started in 1967. At that time the race was only about 27 miles long. It was run along a small section of the actual Itidarod trail. Now they start in Wasilla right outside of Anchorage.
The story of that great first race is as follows:
In 1927 in Nome there was a diphtheria epidemic and they had run out of serum. Many people were dying, including a lot of children. Nome sent an urgent request to Anchorage asking them to ship more serum right away. Anchorage tried to send it by ship but the pack-ice was getting too thick, then they tried by plane but they were having too many blizzards. Finally as a last resort they sent it by train. Unfortunately the train stopped at Nenana a town 674 miles away from Nome. They decided to use dog-sled for the remaining 674-mile distance.
A musher met the train, and loaded the serum on his sled, he then traveled to the next check-point. There another musher took over. And so on and so on. After a few days the last musher came into Nome. This musher's lead dog was the famous Balto. The serum was delivered and Nome was saved from being wiped out.
© Copyright 1997 Elizabeth Beckett and Sarah Teel
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