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The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race was first established by Joe Redington, Sr, often called the father of the Iditarod. He started the Iditarod Sled Dog Race in 1973. A small event at first it has evolved into the world famous sled dog race it is today inspiring millions.

He also encouraged Human Powered races on the Iditarod Trail as well with the foresight that "The Trail" would live on. The first snowshoe and cross country ski races were coordinated in the early 1980's. In 1987 Joe Redington Sr. suggested the idea of a 200 mile bike race from Knik to Skwentna as a challenge to the Arctic Bicycle club of Anchorage. And so they did, the Iditabike was born. In 1989 Dan Bull did the first trip to Nome on mountain bikes with three other riders in 21 days.

In 1991 the different divisions were merged into one race called the Iditasport. That year also included a triathlon division. 1992 a runner division was added. Later those races merged in to one race and the Iditasport bike, ski or run race was born. In the year of 2000 the race followed the entire length of the Iditarod Trail to Nome on the Bering coast. The race started attracting athletes from all over the world. Mike Curiak holds the overall record for the fastest time for the 1000 miles: 15 days, 1 hour, 15 minutes, set in 2000. Bill Merchant became race owner and manager in 2002 and transformed the Iditasport in Iditarod trail invitational.
Words from Bill Merchant, Trail Manager/ Racer.
When the Iditarod trail invitational was formed in 2002 with the input of several veteran racers we all agreed support should be kept to a minimum. As a race organizer it would be much less stressful to have all the rules, restrictions and support offered in other races but as a racer I want to make and be responsible for my own decisions. We try to limit the amount of support to just what is necessary to prevent our race from imposing on lodges and other folks along the trail when things don’t go as planned.

Words from a story told by Joe May, one of the legends and winner of the early Iditarod Sled Dog races say it best and I am paraphrasing, “Some times when you offer too much support you cheat the true adventurer out of a big part of why they are on the trail. They come to race, to confront and hopefully overcome what ever is thrown their way. To solve problems for them diminishes the experience.”

Listening to those stories from someone who experienced the early days of the Iditarod Trail made me sure I want to preserve this philosophy of adventure and experience for all who qualify and choose to participate in the Iditarod Trail Invitational. For those who do not agree with this philosophy, expect marked trails and more support there are other races out there which will cater to your needs.


Aerialtronics, frozenendurance
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frozenendurance, sony