Human beings often ask what qualifies me to be a sled dog. That’s simple, I have special adaptations that make it easy for me to run in the frigid Arctic temperatures. My paws have a special kind of gel that prevents them from freezing, my fur has layers to keep me warm and waterproof, and my long tail keeps my nose warm at night.
My canine friends want to know what qualifications mushers must have to race in the Iditarod. I looked in the rules and, sure enough, there is a long list of qualifications they must meet. Here are a few: First they have to be at least 18 years old. They also need to have raced a total of 700 miles in qualifying races (2 need to be at least 300 miles long. List of qualifying races can be found here: https://iditarod.com/about/other-links/). Rookies need a reference from an Iditarod Finisher who “must certify that the rookie has been informed about and understands the physical and mental aspects of the Iditarod, as well as the wilderness and mushing skills necessary for contesting the race.” WooWooWooooo! Mushers must really want to be a part of the Iditarod.
Most important of all is both mushers and canines – whether to race to win, or race to finish – have to have the hearts of champions!