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The Great Alaska Race: The Iditarod

Updated on November 16, 2017

The Story of the Iditarod in a Painting


The Great Alaska Dog Sled Race

The Iditarod is one of the last great races in the United States and takes place entirely in Alaska. The race covers over 1,000 miles of rough, snowy terrain from Anchorage to Nome Alaska and takes place each March. Mushers brave storms and below zero degree arctic weather ( sometimes -60 below ) to make this great trek with their brave dogs. ( several teams shown in the painting).

The Father of the Iditarod--Joe Redington Sr.

Joe Redington Sr. is known as the “Father of the Iditarod.” ( shown with his dog in the center of the painting ).

He saw the need of preserving the sled dog tradition and the use of these great, brave dogs when it looked like snowmobiles were becoming more fashionable and were taking over the trails. With his innovations in establishing this great race—-traditions were re-established and the Iditarod came into being.

The Life Saving Dog Sled Relay

Honoring the past —The critical run from Nenana to Nome by 20 mushers that brought life saving serum to the children in Nome, Alaska stricken with Diphtheria is honored each year at the Iditarod.

In 1925 there was an epidemic of Diphtheria that threatened the lives of the entire village. The only serum available was in Anchorage Alaska and the train could only take it as far as the village of Nenana—-far from where it was needed in Nome. The only possibility of reaching its destination in time was by sled dogs bringing it the rest of the way. They proposed to do a relay of passing off the package from one musher to another along the way. The two lead dogs who traveled the furthest and through the most bitter conditions were Togo and Balto ( shown in the painting). They were cheering when the last team arrived and many lives were saved.(shown in the painting)

This painting only tells a part of the story, but it also honors the three generations of the Redington family that have participated in the race. ( The youngest, Robert Redington, is shown with his team in the bottom of the painting).

© 2017 Carol Hill


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    • signgirl profile image

      Carol Hill 7 weeks ago from Palmetto, Florida and Herriman Utah

      Thank you for your sweet comment. Carol

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 7 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Your painting is lovely. I loved the story of the children being saved from diphtheria by the dogs, too.