Iditarod (Īdĭtˈərŏdˌ) [key], abandoned town in SW Alaska, site of a 1908 gold rush, on the Iditarod River. The town site and river lie on the Iditarod National Historic Trail, 2,350 mi (3,781 km) long, a gold-seekers' route from Seward to Nome (see National Parks and Monuments, table), and on the route of the Iditarod Race, an annual dogsled competition that runs 1,160 mi (1,868 km) from Anchorage to Nome. The race commemorates a medical mission undertaken by dog sled during a 1925 diphtheria epidemic. First held in 1973, the Iditarod is run in March and draws some 50 drivers and teams, with the winner taking 9–11 days to complete the course.
See G. and L. Salisbury, The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race Against an Epidemic (2003).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.