Serum Run: Onward to the coast!

Serum Run 2011 Participants

As of the last report the mushers and snowmachiner’s are at Old Woman cabin and will run into Unalakleet today.

Unalakleet the biggest town between Anchorage and Nome and is the first checkpoint on the notorious coast. Unalakleet has been made famous recently on the Discovery Channel show, Flying Wild Alaska about the Tweto family and its bush pilots. Unalakleet is approximately 269 miles from Nome.

They are making good time on the trail and all of them have had their share of obstacles: from busted snow machines to dumped sleds to bad storms. A day in the life of a musher is never boring!

[ Rewind: Serum Run 2011: Sled Dogs Save the Day  Part 1 ]

My friend, Erin’s dogs are doing very well with Goose running in single lead for a good portion of the last few days. Her team is in great condition and eating very well.

From all reports the dogs will be back in Anchorage on Monday (March 13th) and the mushers and snowmachiner’s will follow shortly thereafter.

What I find amazing is the the Serum Run started on February 19th in Nenana and will finish just a few days from the first musher to cross the finish line in Nome of this year’s Iditarod.

While the Serum Run is an expedition that stops almost every night at a village to speak to the local residents about a certain topic–this year it is suicide prevention, it is not a race like the iditarod. The Serum Run group travels together with a snow machine support person carrying gear for both the musher and him/herself and the dogs.

Veterinarians travel with the Serum Run team and provide care (if needed) to the dogs–and sometimes even the humans.

Speaking to the lead veterinarian, Dr. Jerry Vanek, before the start of the expedition, he said that the main difference between his work on the Serum Run and the Iditarod is that he can see his “patient’s” progress for two weeks and follow their care. Whereas as on the Iditarod he may treat a dog a a checkpoint and not hear anything about the dog for the rest of the race.

The Iditarod is to see who can get to Nome the fastest, while the Serum Run is about education.

I admire both sets of mushers and all of the support staff on both the Iditarod and the Serum Run and I wish all of them well and safe trails.


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