The Perfect Competition for These Wild Times
When Thomas Waerner and his 10 sled dogs pulled into Nome, AK, late Tuesday night, they were entering a very different world than the one they left ten days prior. At that time, Waerner was also one of the only people on Earth experiencing that particular type of pride and joy that comes with dominating a sporting event, the champion of the Iditarod, a competition that’s known as “The Last Great Race.” This year, more than ever, it lived up to that billing. As league after league suspended their seasons and tournaments, the Iditarod carried on—and it was the perfect competition for these crazy times.
The famed dog sled race through the Alaskan wilderness has its origins in a crisis eerily reminiscent of our own. In the winter of 1925, the city of Nome was facing an outbreak of a sickness marked by—what else?—a pronounced cough, fever, and body aches, and the town’s only doctor was out of medicine to treat it. No ships could access the local port; it was iced over, and it was too dangerous to deliver anything by plane. So, a relay of 20 mushers and 150 sled dogs was organized to transport the serum from the southern town of Seward to Nome. Working day and night, they got the treatment to Nome in 5 ½ days and saved the town. Today’s mushers follow a similar path to the one those dog teams ran to keep a pandemic at bay.
The Iditarod […]