Every year in early March the city of Anchorage puts snow on downtown streets, so the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race can have its ceremonial start. For the next nine or 10 days Alaskans talk about wheel dogs, snub lines, mandatory 24s and towns with names like Ophir, Shageluk, Shaktoolik, Unalakleet, Koyuk, Kaltag and – my personal favorite – Safety.
“Safety.” Just what I’d be thinking about if I were standing on sled runners in the middle of the night, on zero sleep, with wind chills well below zero.
This year’s race was won by 53-year-old Mitch Seavey in 9 days, 7 hours, 39 minutes and 56 seconds. He’s the oldest person ever to win – and this year, he beat his own son, Dallas, who finished in fourth place.
Like they say: Youth and vigor can often be overcome by age and treachery.