The 2009 Iditarod dog race is just starting in Alaska with Reuters reporting competitor numbers down because of the recession. The Anchorage Daily News provides comprehensive coverage.
The race commemorates the transport of urgent medical supplies to Nome in 1925 following an outbreak of diphtheria in the days before bush flying. A web site, Balto's True Story, has more details.
One interesting fact about the race is that in 1989, 1990 and 1991 a competitor, John Suter, raced a team of Standard Poodles and achieved credible results. The breed was subsequently banned perhaps more for image reasons than anything else? Blatant discrimination?!? Okay, I have to concede that their fur coats are probably not as well suited as the "northern" breeds and dogs have died out in the cold on this very testing race.
2 hours ago