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Joe Reddington (1917)close

Joe Reddington was the Father of "The Last Great Race on Earth", the Iditarod, run by dog sleds and mushers across Alaska every March since 1973. The race was started to commemorate the Serum Run of 1925 when diphtheria serum was rushed by dog sled over the 1000-mile Iditarod trail from Anchorage to Nome to save lives from the disease.

Reddington was a talented musher and race promoter, convincing people to sponsor the event and contribute prize money. He and his wife Vi offered a piece of their own land as a prize in one of the early races.

Today people travel from around the world to serve as check-point help, veterinarians, and trail volunteers for the race Joe Reddington started. It is a community event for all of Alaska. Alaskan children may be more likely to know Iditarod statistics and mushers than NBA or NFL players. Everyone knows or follows a favorite musher. If you live in Alaska, you understand the conditions the dogs and mushers survive to complete the race. That same determination is part of Alaska's culture.

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