Hello Friends,

Sunrise at the starting line. (photo Dave Poyzer)

With temperatures around 25°F and under a bluebird sky, 47 sled dog teams took off on the Iditarod Trail. Awooooo! It was fun to watch my K9 friends so excited to be on the trail doing what they love best – rrrrrunning.

Some 1st graders from Ann Arbor, Michigan have a few questions for me; here are your answers. First of all, running in deep snow is difficult and time consuming, but my strong, 4 legged friends are up to the task. There have been times when mushers actually take the lead to help the dogs plow a trail. Dogs have a keen sense of ice and just tend to know it’s too thin to cross. The booties the dogs wear don’t hurt their feet, they’re there for protection so snow doesn’t clump up between their toes. Most teams begin the race with a plan for a run/rest schedule and they are allowed to take as many breaks as they need during the race. Rule #13 states that all teams must take a 24 hour layover and two 8 hour breaks at checkpoints. Finally, as far as a tie? Not yet in the Iditarod. The closest finish so far was in 1978 when Dick Mackey edged out Rick Swenson. See the video of that finish here. (Teachers, please watch before showing the class.) Bow Wow Mrs. Taylor! Your students came up with some grrrreat questions.

The beginning of the 2021 Iditarod will be the same as previous years as teams get into their running paces. It’s after the halfway point when teams turn around and head back the same way they came that things will get interesting. Stick with me during the race and I’ll keep my paws on the keyboard to keep you updated on the The Last Great Race. Please email any questions to I will try to answer as many questions as I can.

Tail wags,