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Ride along with an Alaskan dog team

| The Great Race - An Intimate Look Inside the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race

Michelle Phillips crosses Norton Sound at dawn as she nears Koyuk during the 2014 Iditarod.

[photography by Jeff Schultz] - Alaska Magazine

| The Great Race - An Intimate Look Inside the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race

Pete Kaiser’s dogs sleep in the dog lot in Nome during the 2014 Iditarod.

[photography by Jeff Schultz] - Alaska Magazine

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10 years ago next month I’ll have known this guy. He hired me to be a part of his new “tourist attraction” he owned in Anchorage. Never thought I’d be a part of Team Seavey and get to watch them take over and dominate the Iditarod. Dallas may have come in second this year, but I was so very proud to see him run under that burled arch. 

Photos are of him at the Ceremonial Start in Anchorage, and his second place finish in Nome. All taken by yours truly.

| The Great Race - An Intimate Look Inside the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race

Kelley Griffin runs past the Department of Transportation sign on the Bering Sea ice as she nears the finish line in Nome during the 2012 Iditarod.

[photography by Jeff Schultz] - Alaska Magazine

Iditarod 2017: It’s Not Over Yet

24 hours ago, Mitch Seavey and his team of sled dogs won the 2017 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in first place. Since then, thirteen other teams have crossed the finish line in Nome, Alaska. 

News coverage and interest in the Iditarod always dwindles towards the end of the race, once there is a winner. The media often tends to focus most on the competitive aspect of the race.

But it’s not over yet and the race is about so much more than the competition for first place.There are still 52 mushers and their teams on the trail to Nome and most of them began the race knowing they had no chance of winning. They are running for personal reasons - many just to finish. The draw is the journey across Alaska with dogs, not a cash prize or pickup truck that the winner recieves. In fact, a lot of mushers would rather never have the media descend upon their team with cameras and lights and noise. These people choose to live in remote wilderness areas with dogs for company for a reason.

Some mushers are competing for a personal goal - bettering their time from a previous run, seeing just what their dogs are capable of and where their training routine will get them. 

So when you hear about Seavey’s win, remember that although he finished first, there are still mushers and dogs challenging themselves in a race across Alaska that is not a race for first place. 

| The Great Race - An Intimate Look Inside the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race

Rookie Musher Justin Savidis talks with his dogs just prior to the ceremonial start of the 2010 Iditarod in Anchorage.

[photography by Jeff Schultz] - Alaska Magazine

Happy Birthday Emil von Behring

Awarded the first ever Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1901. Discovered diphtheria antitoxin. One of the founding fathers of serotherapy, or passive immunization.

Diphtheria is an unpleasant way to die, most often in children. President Cleveland’s daughter Ruth died from diphtheria; there were about 1 million cases and 50,000 deaths in Europe in 1943; the Iditarod dog race commemorates the delivery of diphtheria antitoxin to Nome Alaska.

Vaccines work.

Corynebacterium diphtheriae is #112 on The Periodic Table of Microbes

| The Great Race - An Intimate Look Inside the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Joe Garnie’s sled dogs head down the iconic Iditarod trail.

[photography by Jeff Schultz] - Alaska Magazine

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This is a picture of Lance Mackey embarking on the 35th Iditarod Sled Dog race in 2007. The traditional starting ground (the frozen surface of Willow Lake) is covered in snow.

This year, warm temperatures and unusually low snowfall have forced the Iditarod to change course. The ceremonial start was still held in Anchorage, where dogs ran through slushy streets and light rainfall. But for the actual start yesterday, the dogs and mushers moved up to cooler Fairbanks.

Credit: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

The Iditarod is still going on, but already has its champion, Dallas Seavey! These pups could have been in it, except they thought being a sled dog meant they’d get to sit in a sled and ride around in it while someone else pulled them. Not quite…

| The Great Race - An Intimate Look Inside the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Sled dogs pull forward out of Anchorage during the 1992 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

[photography by Jeff Schultz] - Alaska Magazine

| Zoya DeNure

Finish line! NOME, ALASKA
11 days, 19 hours.

LEAD DOGS NOTHING BETTER & Twinkle led our team in from safety. So proud of those two. Nothing Better is a rescue and Twinkle , his daughter just turned 2.
Honestly I didn’t expect much from
These two but both stepped up later in the race after Fender was dropped and team dynamics changed. I needed them and they got that.

Thunder was a mainstay leader taking us across the sea ice out of shaktoolik and long treacherous sections of trail in either single lead or partnering up with Nothing. For days on end. Running day & night for 11 days straight. It’s almost surreal
Just how capable we are, our dogs too..Iditarod will challenge all of your mental and physical faculties.
Total rock star dogs running strong and loyal
to their team. I never once thought about dropping, never once thought about going home early. Just moving forward with faith and confidence in my team.
I love them all so much, loved seeing their faith in me to care for them and their eager to please attitude. It’s so rewarding to raise and train your own dogs and help rehab and develop rescues that just need more time, love and training.

So proud of my dogs, this epic journey across Alaska and our team effort to get it done through the good times and days of -56 below zero.

Never stop believing in yourself …and your dreams…even if it feels like everyone else had…
If you believe it, you can achieve it.

Race Banquet in a few hours…
More soon, xo
With love from Nome, AK
Zoya

| The Great Race - An Intimate Look Inside the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

John Barron’s team mushes near Finger Lake Checkpoint in 2006.

[photography by Jeff Schultz] - Alaska Magazine