On February 2nd in 1925, Twenty brave, warmly-dressed mushers began a journey transporting medicine (diphtheria antitoxin) to Nome, Alaska. Their trek was the inspiration for the Iditarod, the world’s longest and most challenging dog sled race. The name Iditarod came from a Deg Xit’an word “hidedhod” for the Iditarod River. This name means distant or distant place.

There was a children’s story that was loosely based upon this historical event. “Balto” was a real dog – a Siberian Husky – who was the back-up dog on that fateful journey. He gained greater notoriety because he ran the last leg of the journey – he crossed the “finish line.” But I suppose that there’s room here for a reminder about the power and benefit of teamwork. Surely you have heard me “wax poetic” about the power of we.

Balto with Gunnar Kaasen, his musher in the 1925 Serum Run.

Today, Iditarod mushers compete in a recreation of “the Great Race of Mercy” and try to complete that journey as a matter of honor and personal determination. But make no mistake about it, that first long, hard, cold journey was certainly a matter of life and death. Some journeys are. If you’re on a journey, let’s play to win and remember what’s a stake.

And remember – If you aren’t the lead dog,…

…(wait for it)…

…the scenery never changes!

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