The 1st Saturday of March in Anchorage is a big deal. It marks the beginning of the annual Iditarod Sled Dog Race. It's billed as a 1049 mile endurance run, when really the mileage is closer to 1100. The 49 celebrates Alaska as the 49th state. Saturday marks the ceremonial start in downtown Anchorage. This allows thousands of people to come out & cheer the musher as they embark on their journey to Nome. On Saturday the mushers & their dogs go 11 miles before loading up & driving out to the official start in Willow, AK. The official start is tomorrow, Sunday, March 2nd. I'll try to keep an update on the progress of the mushers.
Usually we meet up with friends for an annual Iditarod Breakfast & walk to a nearby trail to watch the mushers go by. It's a regular party atmosphere & lots of fun for children & adults alike. However, this year, there was no breakfast due to the Ski 4 Kids. The Ski 4 Kids event is a fundraiser put on by the Nordic Ski Association of Anchorage to help provide gear and coaches to children who might not otherwise have the opportunity to experience the joys of cross country skiing.
The weather was bitterly cold (10°F + heavy winds) - I figure w/the wind the temps were below zero. Fortunately once skiers entered the trees, it was a lot warmer (relatively speaking). Both boys skied the longer race - about 3 Km. Orion entered the medium wave & finished 55th out of 119 skiers with a time of 19:10. Pretty good! He really had a fun time even though he wiped out before the race & banged his knee on the ice. Tough kid!
Iain had an equally great race. I skied behind him since this was his first time doing the "big kid" race. He finished 41st out of 91 skiers with a time of 28:08. It was fun watching him book up the hills and then "tuck his bum" for the downhills. He and another boy kept the competitive spirit alive - the other boy would pass Iain, then Iain wouldn't have any of that, so he'd turn on the gas & pass him. Then, the other boy (I wish I knew his name - 'the other boy' is quite awkward) would not like that and ski past Iain. They kept this up for the entire course. Iain poured it on at the end & finished in front. Gee, I wonder where he gets that competitive drive from?