Iditarod Has Life-Saving History
Saturday marked the beginning of the 2011 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, spanning more than 1150 miles from Anchorage to Nome. The trail was first raised in the American consciousness in 1925, as 20 mushers and 150 sled dogs relayed life-saving diphtheria antitoxin through blizzard conditions from Nenana, where the antitoxin had been shipped by train, to epidemic-stricken Nome.
A brief account of the historic event is provided by Stanley Scheindlin in the August 2008 issue of Molecular Interventions. A much more comprehensive record is available from Salisbury and Salisbury: The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race Against an Epidemic.
From Alaska’s Digital Archives: Image of sledder Gunnar Kaason with Balto, who traversed the last 78 miles to Nome during the 1925 “Great Race of Mercy.”
HT: Terry Glauser.