Wednesday, December 24, 2008

iditarod trail without dogs: ny times story

today's new york times ran an interesting story in the sports pages, "sports meet survival: an iditarod without the dogs." instead of focusing my attention on how the giants should approach the last game of the season this weekend (play hard or rest?), this unexpected article got my head back into ultra mode - well, at least until tonight's annual christmas eve seafood dinner :D

the article focused the "alternative" race, the "iditarod trail invitational" instead of the more famous "iditarod trail dog sled race" that most people think of when "the iditarod" is mentioned. the alternative race, set for march 1, 2009, covers the same 1,100 miles as the more famous dog sled version (held the following week), but the competitors cover the very same trail, albeit without dogs (i.e., via skis, bike, foot). a shorter, 350 mile, version, is run simultaneously.

the race organizers hold a five day "training" camp that, for $750, "promise[s] five days of survival training designed to toughen the qualified and to break the rest." four racers (of the 7 registered for the full distance) arrived for the early december "camp." of that enterprising group, only 2 survived the "training." the two who didn't, a husband-wife team, headed back home on day three because the wife "lost consciousness in her sleeping bag!" scary!

in the "it's a small world catagory," b.u.s. member and local (westchester) ultra runner alicja barahona set the women's record (7 days, 16 hours) for the 350 mile distance in 2005! that lasted until 2008, when it was broken (7 days, 14 hours, 40 minutes) by another east coaster, loreen hewitt, from pennsylvania.


ChickenUnderwear said...


One more thing for my bucket list.

Runner Tammy said...


Can you at least bring a dog as your support crew (or to pull along in a sled and snuggle next to so you don't "lose consciousness in your sleeping bag"?)

If the answer is "no" this may be one event I take a pass!

Take care,

Zoooma!! said...

I lived there. I've experienced on a daily basis 20 and 30 and 40 BELOW. To be outside on foot in a long distance race in it? Not for everyone. On the face of it, it's almost purely literally insane. But then it just might be one of the toughest races in the world and to even finish it would be something, wouldn't it!? Whew.

Merry Christmas :)