Iditarod 2011: Newton Marshall

The great Isaac Newton realized that everything moves at a maximal velocity which is determined by gravity (meaning that the max velocity any falling object can get, no matter the size or density, is 9.81 m/s^2).

Then we have the Iditarod.

One of the race’s most liked mushers is Newton Marshall. A man that is the furthest from what you would expect in the sport of dog sledding. He is Jamaican, and that is only the half of it.

Marshall began mushing just six years ago after a manager at Chuka Cove in Jamaica saw something special in him. The manager wanted to start up a dog sledding business to cater to the tourist’s of the tropical paradise. After going through a couple of employees, one of which was afraid of dogs, he settled on the twenty-something Newton and his special abilities with animals.

Soon after, Newton headed to the Far North to work with Iditarod veteran Hans Gatt and entered the Percy deWolfe race from Dawson, Yukon Territories to Eagle, Alaska. He was hooked! In 2009, Marshall became the first ever Jamaican to finish the Yukon Quest and then headed to Fairbanks to work with Iditarod champion Lance Mackey.

Newton trained hard under Lance’s wing and entered the 2010 Iditarod as a rookie. He finished a respectable 47th and secured himself in the history books of the sport as a veteran dog driver.

This year’s race faced it’s own obstacles for all the mushers, not just Newton. Take in account high temperatures, a fast trail and a suspected kennel cough outbreak, Newton was forced to scratch in Anvik on March, 12 citing sick dogs.

So even with Newton’s secret to success by singing Reggae to his sled dogs on the trail, it is not enough to conquer the laws of physics, or the laws of mother nature.

I wish Newton well and hope that he returns to run the Iditarod next year. If not, I hope he finds happiness in knowing that when you set your mind to something, even something as crazy as a Caribbean running the Iditarod, your dreams can come true.

Listen to our Iditarod coverage daily on Mush! You Huskies. You can find us on iTunes (search Dog Works Radio) or click on Mushing Radio now.


Robert Forto | Team Ineka | Alaska Dog Works | Mushing Radio | Dog Works Radio | Denver Dog Works | Daily Post


Robert Forto is a musher training for his first Iditarod under the Team Ineka banner and the host of the popular radio shows, Mush! You Huskies and Dog Works Radio Shows