4 The Iditarod Race Every year in early March, dogs pull sleds in a race along the Iditarod Trail. This trail is 1,770 kilometers long. It goes from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. The people who drive the dog teams are called "mushers."A musher is an adventurer. Each musher races alone with a team of dogs. Some mushers are women. Susan Butcher is a famous musher. She won the Iditarod race four times. Rick Swenson won the race five times.
Mushers are very brave to go on this adventure. The dogs run across snow and ice pulling their sleds. Sometimes the mushers ride, and sometimes they walk. In 1991, Rick Swenson led his dogs through heavy snow in a bad storm. It was so dark that no one could see. He fell to his knees and got up again. In 1990, Susan Butcher's dogs got sick.
Then they came to a river where there was water on top of ice. They were very lucky that they didn't fall through the thin ice. No one could live in the icy water below.
At night, the mushers sleep in tents. In the morning, they can see footprints of wild animals near the camp. Sometimes they have to shoot at the wild animals to make them go away. The Iditarod race is very long, dangerous, and cold. The mushers spend eleven or twelve days running this race. The temperature can go down to -46°C (minus forty-six degrees Celsius). The dogs and the mushers take care of each other during this adventure.