It was in Rohn as our trail breaker in 2007 I had the good fortune to meet Joe May one of the legends and winner of the early Iditarod Sled Dog Races. The history lesson for all of us at the Rohn cabin that night cannot be bought or read in books. The stories of dog races in the early days told with a lot of humor fascinated us and kept us laughing. The more I listened the better I felt about the philosophy of the Iditarod Trail Invitational.
When Alaska Ultra Sport was formed in 2002 with the input of several veteran racers we all agreed support should be kept to a minimum. Winning or even finishing in the extremes of Alaskan winter weather depends on how comfortable the racers are with their abilities, level of experience and amount of risk they are willing to take. We differ from other races in that we allow racers to make these decisions for themselves about what to carry, when to rest and when it is safe to travel. There is no designated or marked route only mandatory checkpoints racers must pass through. As a race organizer it would be much less stressful to have all the rules, restrictions and support offered in other races but as a racer I want to make and be responsible for my own decisions. We try to limit the amount of support to just what is necessary to prevent our race from imposing on lodges and other folks along the trail when things don’t go as planned. Words from a story told by Joe May say it best and I am paraphrasing, “Some times when you offer too much support you cheat the true adventurer out of a big part of why they are on the trail. They come to race, to confront and hopefully overcome what ever is thrown their way. To solve problems for them diminishes the experience.”
Listening to those stories from someone who experienced the early days of the Iditarod Trail made me sure I want to preserve this philosophy of adventure and experience for all who qualify and choose to participate in the Iditarod Trail Invitational. This race is not for everyone. A mistake at the wrong time and place in the Alaskan winter wilderness could cost you fingers and toes or even your life. At times the only possible rescue will be self rescue. For those who do not agree with this philosophy, expect marked trails and more support there are other races out there which will cater to your needs.
Trail Manager/ Racer
Entries for the 2011 race will open April 1, 2010 for race veterans and April 8, 2010 for new racers.
Race to McGrath (350 mile)
Fees: US $1000.00 due at sign-up Race To Nome (1100 mile)
Fees: US $ 1150.00 due at sign-up
Nome racers except for previous Nome finishers must post a $750.00 refundable bond which will be donated to Iditarod if the racer asks for help from Iditarod trail crews or check points
(except in life threatening situations or serious injury).
Entry fees are non-refundable and non-transferable. All fees for evacuations off the course are the racer's responsibility.
$1000.00 entry fee for the 350 mile race will provide:
Transportation from Golden Lion Best Western 1000 East 36th to race start at Knik Lake
Lodging and food at Winter Lake Lodge (mile 130) on Finger Lake CP 3
Lodging and food at Puntilla Lake/Rainy Pass Lodge (mile 165) CP 4
A tent camp and food in Rohn (mile 200) CP 5
Lodging and food in Nikola ( mile 300)i CP 6
Lodging and food in McGrath (mile 350) at the finish line
A food/supply drop of 10 pounds each at the checkpoints Finger Lake and Rohn
your drops small, we bring those to their location via small ski plane.
All survival gear, sleeping bags, clothing ect. must be carried from the
There is no prize money in this race, the first male and female in the 350 mile and 1100 mile race will receive a free entry for the following year.
Racers In order to sign up for the 1100 mile race to Nome you must first complete the 350 mile race in a previous year. Nome info For racers going to Nome the
$ 1150.00 entry fee will include a food drop
(southern Route /odd years) or in
Cripple (northern Route/even years).
Besides that drop all
racers going on to Nome will be responsible for their own drop bags, lodging,
food and contacts beyond McGrath.
We will provide Post Office addresses
and phone numbers to local residents who are willing to support our racers.
In past years racers have been staying in village schools for a small fee
and sending boxes to villages post offices "General Delivery"+ racer's
name +" hold for Alaska Ultra Sport Racer" for drops along the route.
& Evacuations: Flights from McGrath, Nome or evacuations from the course are at racer's
Flights back to Anchorage from McGrath with Pen Air cost around $177.00.Price available at the counter in McGrath. You don't need a reservation.
Credit card accepted at he airport in McGrath Alaska Air from Nome back to Anchorage.
Nikolai ( mile 300) food and lodging provided
McGrath ( mile 350) food and lodging provided
Drops (due by Saturday, February 19th, 2011.
Alaska European B&B
3107 Cottonwood Street
Anchorage, AK 99508 USA Racers provide those and either drop them off in person a week before the race or send them by mail.
Many european racers and out of state racers mail them by post to us) Remember to send them by air mail if you send them from Europe to make sure they arrive in time.
use bags not boxes) Drops are for
expendables! ( food, batteries, fuel, chem. handwarmers,etc.) Everything else (all survival gear) is to be carried from the start by the racer.
Finger Lake drop bag- 10 lbs/4.5 kg
Rohn drop bag - 10 lbs/4.5 kg
Cripple/Iditarod drop bag -10 lbs/4.5 kg