Alaska Airlines To
Serve As Iditarod's Official Airline
By Bill Goldston
February 29, 2012 - Alaska Airlines will serve as the
official airline sponsor of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog
Race, marking the 34th year the carrier has supported
the event. "We are proud to be a sponsor of the Last
Great Race," said Marilyn Romano, Alaska Airlines'
regional vice president, Alaska.
The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is an annual sled dog
team race across Alaska. Mushers and a team of 12-16
dogs (of which at least 6 must be on the towline at the
finish line) cover over 1,049 miles in 9?15 days from
Anchorage to Nome.
The race begins on the first Saturday in March. The
Iditarod began in 1973 as an event to test the best sled
dog mushers and teams but evolved into today's highly
competitive race. The current fastest winning time
record was set in 2011 by John Baker with a time of 8
days, 19 hours, 46 minutes, and 39 seconds.
is the most popular sporting event in Alaska, and the top
mushers and their teams of dogs are local celebrities; this
popularity is credited with the resurgence of recreational
mushing in the state since the 1970s. While the yearly field of
more than fifty mushers and about a thousand dogs is still
largely Alaskan, competitors from fourteen countries have
completed the event including the Swiss Martin Buser, who became
the first international winner in 1992.
Iditarod has a rich history and every year a new story is told.
Alaska Airlines is honored to be associated with the race to
help emphasize the success and safety of the mushers and their
airline will again present the Leonhard Seppala Humanitarian
Award, which recognizes one musher for providing exemplary dog
care and is considered the highest honor a competitor can
receive. The award is named after one of Alaska's
most-celebrated mushers, whose 1925 sled-dog team traveled the
longest distance to transport diphtheria serum to Nome.
As part of its sponsorship, Alaska Airlines also will provide air transportation and dog care supplies for Iditarod veterinarians who care for the race dogs' health and safety. In addition, many Alaska Airlines employees contribute their time at the event.
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