November 26, 2014

How Does It Start?

Martha Dobson, Iditarod Educational Consultant

Jjay & Gypsy

How does it start? This dream of running sled dogs, running teams in long distance races. Is it in your family, like the Mackeys, or in your culture, like John Baker, Paul Johnson? Did you move north and fall in love with the land, the dogs, their abilities?

Or, did you, as a child riding in a car, see a dog team running in an Ohio field, and did you store that thought, that idea, that you wanted to do that? And in fifth grade, did you take that thought and create a school project about sled dogs, still storing that idea in the back of your mind that you could do this? In health class, did you learn about the Nome diphtheria epidemic and the sled dog teams which delivered the antitoxin to the village? And did you start reading everything you could find about cold weather, surviving in the outdoors, and sled dogs? And, finally, did you realize when the school librarian showed you microfiche records of Libby Riddles’ 1985 win and Susan Butcher’s accomplishments in the Iditarod that this was something you could do? Run a dog team in the Iditarod?

For twenty years, this idea has been in Jjay Levy’s head, and now she’s acting on it… Learn more by reading the rest of the article at the Education Portal.