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The Changing Face of the Iditarod

Click here to read the complete article
286 – June 2019

BY AMY FERNANDEZ

Possibly the greatest thing about dogs is their infinite adaptability. Our rainbow spectrum of breeds is the ultimate testament to that. But even within those parameters, they demonstrate remarkable flexibility. Chihuahuas in Siberia, what’s the problem? Great Danes in studio apartments, well that one’s practically a modern-life stereotype.

So, getting to my point, take a look at the Iditarod. Although it’s not technically an event that falls within our purebred context, we love it. We love it because every year, like clockwork, it reaffirms the amazing versatility and resilience of man’s best friend. Often called “The Last Great Race on Earth,” the basic challenge of a top speed 1110 mile trek over three mountain ranges features an alternating variety of extra added surprises like subzero cold, blizzards, whiteouts, random moose attacks, and, most recently, drunken kamikaze jerks on snowmobiles. Simply finishing the race ranks as a major achievement.

And. if the current crop of pessimists are right, we’re either looking at its swan song, or some brand new frontiers of canine reinvention. Well, this is how The Times put it…Mush, Mush Literally – Where will the Iditarod go when the snow and ice are gone? This is no place for a diatribe about global warming, although. if you want my personal perspective, even if we’re all wiped out, I would bet the farm that dogs will still be going strong in the wake of mankind.

Never mind, back to the Iditarod, which started last weekend. As we know, it’s roughly 1100 miles from Anchorage, on the Kenai Peninsula, to Nome, on the Seward Peninsula, at the other end of the state. Founded in commemoration of that lifesaving serum run back in 1925, since it began in 1973, the race has evolved into a formal, standardized event, with all of the big money, fine print regulations, and PR that it entails.

Over the decades, the race time has been shaved down from approximately a 14 day adventure of 80 miles per day to less than half that time, and its popularity has grown in tandem with the streamlined ac- tion and rigid expectations. And, there’s the problem in a nutshell.

Click here to read the complete article
286 – June 2019

Short URL: http://caninechronicle.com/?p=164643

Posted by on Jul 3 2019. Filed under Current Articles, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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