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ID number:929023
Published: 17.04.2012.
Language: English
Level: Secondary school
Literature: n/a
References: Not used

“Mushing” is the sport of racing teams of dogs that pull sleds over snow. (E) The largest and most famous sporting event in Alaska is the Iditarod, an annual race of teams of sled dogs and their drivers (or “mushers”). (K) The Iditarod commemorates a historic event from the winter of 1925, when a relay of 20 teams of dogs and mushers was used to deliver urgently needed medicine to Nome. (D) The first Iditarod was held in 1973. (J) Over the years, mushers and their dogs have come from Alaska, 20 other U.S. states, and 14 foreign countries to compete in “the last great race.” (G) The middle section of the racecourse, between the villages of Ophir and Kaltag, alternates each year. A northern route is taken on even numbered years and a southern route on odd numbered years. (A) The checkpoints are essential for a race of this length, difficulty, and isolation. Because there are no roads linking every section of the race, airplanes are used to ferry supplies and people before, during, and after the event. (F) There are important rules in the Iditarod to protect the health and safety of the teams of musher and dogs. During the race, the mushers must take several mandatory rest stops. One eight-hour stop occurs in the middle of the race, and another occurs before the last 124-kilometer section of the race into Nome. (B) There are also rules for the team of dogs, which can range from between 12 and 16 animals per sled. Two pairs of “booties” for each dog are required to protect the animals’ paws from sharp ice and other obstacles on the trail. (I) The rules of the Iditarod specifically state, “There will be no cruel or inhumane treatment of dogs.” Winning the Iditarod takes months of planning and training. (H)…

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