In a race that is usually filled with grizzled veterans, middle age men, frost-bitten faces and scraggly beards it is refreshing to see women compete in the race as well.
Women in this sport have always been a power-house with several well-known females winning the race or coming close. Names like fan favorite 4-time champ Susan Butcher–who can be credited as one of the greatest this sport has ever seen, and 28 time participant DeeDee Jonrowe, and the first woman to win the the race–Libby Riddles.
Then we have the twins.
Kristy and Ana Berington are competing for the first time together in the 2012 Iditarod. Growing up in a remote area near Lake Superior in the early 1980s the twins spent plenty of time outdoors on their parents hobby farm. They soon caught the mushing bug watching the John Beargrease Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota and they thought they would give the sport a try hooking up their Great Pyrenees to a set of skis and a milk crate.
Fast forward to the summer of 2007 when Kristy headed to the great white north and met Iditarod legend Dean Osmar. Very quickly the twins moved north and started training for races. Kristy competed in the Knik 200, the Tustumena 100 and the Klondike 300 and Taiga 300. All of this was done before break-up (what we call the snow melt in Alaska) in 2008.
Later that year Kristy began training with another Iditarod legend, Paul Gebhardt and ran her first Iditraod in 2011 finishing a respectable 29th.
This year Anna is running as a rookie in the race and has sights on racing with her sister and doing well on the 1,049 mile trek to Nome.
Their plan this year is not to sleep the first three days of the race and frequently jump off the sled and run beside to lighten the load and give the dogs a bit of a rest.
There have been a lot of firsts in the Last Great Race on Earth but I don’t think that a set of twins have ran all the way to Nome. Where sleep deprivation is a given on the trail the mushers better look twice because they just might be seeing double…
Vist Kirsty and Anna’s website
- Hobo Jim at Willow Trading Post (robertforto.com)