Cindy AbbottHometown: Willow, Alaska
Cindy Abbott, 60, was born in Nebraska. After graduating from California State University, Fullerton, she became a professor there and taught Health Science and Kinesiology for 23 years. In 2007, she took up mountain climbing with the single goal of standing on the top of the world. A few months after she began training, Cindy was diagnosed with a serious and rare disease (Wegener’s granulomatosis), but she was determined to achieve her dream, and on May 23, 2010, Cindy stepped onto the summit of Mt. Everest holding the National Organization of Rare Diseases (NORD) banner. In 2011, Cindy came to Alaska and began learning how to run sled dogs with the single goal of completing the Iditarod. She immediately fell in love with the sport, the Alaskan people and culture, but most all; she fell in love with the world’s most amazing athletes – the dogs! On March 3, 2013, Cindy started her first Iditarod. She made it 10 days before she had to scratch due to a broken pelvis. On March 2, 2014, Cindy started her second Iditarod. Unfortunately, Mother Nature made the race course unusually challenging. Cindy injured her shoulder and scratched at Rohn. On March 7, 2015, Cindy started her third Iditarod. After 13 days, 11 hours, 19 minutes and 51 seconds, she crossed the finish line in Nome and received the Red Lantern Award, and she got her NORD banner under the Burled Arch. After 5 years of living and working in California while training and racing in Alaska, Cindy and her husband, Larry, built a house in Willow and now call Alaska home. On March 6, 2017, Cindy started her fourth Iditarod. After 12 days, 2 hours, 57 minutes, 31 seconds, she crossed the finish line and set a new record for the fastest Red Lantern time by 25 hours! The 2019 Iditarod will be Cindy’s final run of “The Last Great Race.” She says that it is time to spend more time with her family. Cindy will continue to run sled dogs recreationally.
Sanford Health, SD