March madness…

By Mary Hicks
Buffalo Bulletin
March 19, 2014

Alaskan Dallas Seavey wins 2014 Iditarod sled dog race in record time … won $50,000 and a new truck. I wonder what his lead dog won … hmmm.

The Iditarod claims more bad press. I felt terrible about missing the Bulletin deadline, my first in over 40 years … sorry! Anyway, this will be my last column about the Iditarod. I’ll let the big boys handle the bad news from now on.

An interview by Greg Cote of the Miami Herald quotes, “The dogs are running again, in many cases running until they drop, in some cases running until they die.

“The 30th Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is underway (actually, the race was over two weeks ago) in Alaska to see which team can trek 1,100 miles the fastest. (last year’s) winner made it in nine days. The bizarre competition involves 65 ‘mushers,’” drivers along for the ride as their slaves – 16 dog teams, at least at the start – do the hard labor, at times encouraged by their masters’ whips.

“It is March madness of a too literal sort.

“Dogs die; it is a matter of how many. The Iditarod toll was 117 deaths as the last race commenced Saturday (almost three weeks ago). The real figure is higher because casualties from the early years are not known. The figure excludes dogs who perish in training, or who later die as a result of the sanctioned torture.” Read more…

“Ihurtadog” is 1,100 miles of frenzied lunacy

By Jon Saraceno
Thrive Sports
March 11, 2014

The media incessantly glorify and glamorize the Iditarod, the annual march of misery through the Alaskan wilderness that concludes this week, as some sort of quixotic celebration between man and dog. Frankly, it embarrasses me that the Fifth Estate is so easily snowed under by an avalanche of romanticized lies.

In this idealized, overwrought piece of fiction that otherwise goes by the name poppycock, the supposedly egalitarian partnership of man and canine challenges the Iditarod’s frozen hell and dale of tundra and spruce forests.

Mercenary organizers dreamily call the frigid nightmare “The Last Great Race on Earth.” I continue to call it the “Ihurtadog.”

Man’s best friend need not search for enemies as long as the Iditarod is in business. Read more…

Grueling Iditarod not even fit for dogs

by Jon Saraceno
USA Today

Imagine, for a moment, that you are a natural-born runner with unbridled endurance, strength and spirit. You would run yourself to death, if allowed.

Imagine your coach signing you up for a marathon in the Alaskan hinterland. He ships you to the race in a wooden box with an opening only large enough for your snout.

Imagine running more than 1,000 miles or roughly the equivalent from Boston to St. Louis. Imagine trudging for almost two weeks over frozen terrain, jagged rocks, stumps and divots at subzero temperatures, often in the middle of the night. Your feet are raw, cracked and bloody despite wearing “booties.” When you protest, your coach hands you Super Glue to affix a patch of moleskin to your oozing sores. Read more…

Happy to see this race is over

by Jim Rome
Fox Sports
March 14, 2001

Good news: The annual I-killed-a-dog-sled race is over. That means that all of the dogs who managed to make it through another year without getting beaten to death on the frozen tundra of Alaska have another 12 months to breathe easy.

Legendary animal whacker Doug Swingley won the race, again to complete the three-peat. It was his fourth title overall. This guy is the Michael Jordan of dog sled killing, errr, racing. And he says this one was especially meaningful to him because there were six other former champions in the field. Read more…

Iditarod’s bone of contention repels some marketers

by Bruce Horovitz
USA Today
March 2, 2001

The Iditarod dog sled race has become a public-relations minefield.

Organizers of the grueling 1,150-mile race across Alaska have raised a record $2 million this year in sponsorship support for the race, which begins Saturday.

But animal-rights groups are stepping up their condemnation of the 2-week-long race. And corporate image guru John Lister warns that sponsors may need to rethink strategy.

“There is a fairly strong degree of risk in attaching large, national brands to that kind of event,” he says. Read more…