A Spotlight on the Serum Run
January 1925, a Diphtheria outbreak in the town of Nome the cure 500 miles away in Anchorage. Planes were unable to fly in Alaska's extreme winter weather. Trains could make it as far a Nenana, The only option looked like the dog teams running the 650 mile freighting line, the Iditarod trail, a trip that would typically take a month for a single team a relay was the only real option. 20 Mushers volunteered to take on the "Great Race of Mercy" to help save the stricken residents of Nome.
Leonard Seppala and his 12 year old leader Togo were the first on the trail traveling 260 miles from Nome in just three days. The serum continued its journey being passed from team to team running legs of 24-52miles each finally reaching Seppala in Shaktoolik on January 31. The temperature was estimated at −30 °F and a wind chill of −85 °F when they departed. At Golovin, Seppala passed the serum to Charlie Olsen, who in turn would pass it to Kaasan and Balto to complete the final 50mi leg to Nome.
Kaasan's team lead by Fox and Balto came into Nome on February 2nd completing a monumental feat in just 127.5 hours. While its undisputed that Seppala's team, lead by Togo, took on the majority of the monumental task , Balto arriving with the Serum became a media sensation. Fearing that Fox would be mistaken to be a real fox Balto became the image of teamwork, courage, tenacity, and of hope.
The run is commemorated every March when sled-dog teams gather from around the world to participate in the Iditarod, a race that follows the serum-run route.
Growing up in Montana my love of the Siberian Husky started at a young age. It has been quite a journey so far. There has been much to learn and still a lot more yet to learn! I truly believe that we are never too old, too experienced, or too full of ourselves to learn something new. I also believe that knowledge is useless unless we are willing to share it with others.