The courage of a man is defined by his ability to face up against death. To stand toe to toe with his mortality in the most extreme way and set aside his reservations is the only way to truly understand how his heart beats. Only those who do not flee or fret or shrink against incredible odds are qualified to call themselves fearless. For the lion-hearted men and women of Iron Dog, the World’s longest snowmobile race, such tests of bravery are as digestible as a piece of cake.
Originally created back in 1984 under the name Iron Dog Gold Rush Classic, Iron Dog began as a 1,000 mile snowmobile race through the harsh winter –stained lands of Alaska. Today, Iron Dog is approximately 1,971 mile that runs from Big Lake to Nome then ending in Fairbanks. Two man teams on snowmobiles plow through the wild lands of Alaska for a chance a hefty purse and the most coveted title in the snowmobiling community.
There have been many champions since Iron Dog began in the mid 80’s. Arguably the most recognizable is 4-time winner Todd Palin, who is the husband of former Vice-Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin. What each of these elite riders have proved, however, is something that cannot be stripped away by anyone; honor and unyielding courage. It is because the Iron Dog race runs through remote Alaskan lands , some of the most trying and unforgiving terrain on earth, that to even finish this race is a badge of triumph. It is so dangerous, in fact, that half way through; sleds are impounded for a two day stretch in order to give competing teams the necessary amount of rest they may need to survive.
Iron Dog season begins on a Sunday during the middle of the February month. The current record time from start to finish was set by 2009 winners Todd Minnikc and Nick Olstad. Their time stands at 37 hours and 19 minutes. To spend so long cutting through the blistering bite of the winter winds of Alaska is considerably insane to some people; impossible to others. To those worthy, it is an opportunity to rise above the mortal coils of life and take haste against the reaper of time. Their bravery is tested every inch of the near 2,000 mile race and it is hard to object when someone suggest that these souls are not brave ones. They are the brave.
Tyler Baker; OSM Writer
( Source : Iron Dog Home Page )