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An Iditarod Champ

Ryan Redington is the winner of the Iditarod, the world’s most famous sled dog race!

A man with each arm around a dog poses in front of a banner saying Iditarod Sled Dog Champion.

Diana Haecker—The Nome Nugget/Reuters/Alamy

Ryan Redington

Ryan Redington is an Iditarod champion! On March 14, 2023, Redington won the world’s most famous dog sled race, crossing the finish line in Nome, Alaska.

“I can’t believe it,” Redington told the Associated Press. “It finally happened.”

This was the 15th time Redington entered the Iditarod. It’s a hard race to win! Mushers (people who drive dog sleds) and teams of dogs travel about 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) through freezing-cold Alaska. The racecourse takes them over two mountain ranges and quite a bit of ice.

The Iditarod has lots of rules. Every musher is required to take certain items meant to keep their whole team safe and warm, like a warm sleeping bag and booties to protect the dogs’ paws. There are also required rest stops so that everyone—dogs and humans—can recharge during the race.

All in all, it takes a little less than 10 days for most teams to get to the finish line. Redington did it in less than nine days. Redington is Inupiat. He is the sixth Alaska Native musher to win the Iditarod. He says he’s wanted to be the champ since he was a kid.

“It took a lot of work, took a lot of patience,” Redington told the Associated Press. “And we failed quite a few times…. But we kept our head up high and stuck with the dream.”

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Fun Fact

Black and white photo of two dog sleds and many dogs standing on a snowy street in front of the Tanana Post office.

National Photo Company Collection/Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. (LC-DIG-npcc-28025)

Part of the Iditarod race course follows an old mail trail. Back in the early 1900s, mail was delivered by dog sled in parts of Alaska!

Brave Balto

A man in a fur coat crouches on the ground with his arms around a husky-type dog.

FLHC A12/Alamy

Gunnar Kaasen and his sled dog, Balto, became heroes when they delivered medicine to Nome.

In 1925, a dog named Balto became a hero when he brought lifesaving medicine to a far-off town in Alaska.

In January 1925, a disease called diphtheria began spreading through the town of Nome, Alaska. The town doctor needed more medicine, but Nome was hard to reach in the winter. The only way to get there was by dog sled.

Twenty mushers (dog sled drivers) agreed to help take the medicine to Nome. They did it by relay. One musher would take the medicine part of the way down the trail. Then another musher would take over. Little by little, the medicine got closer to Nome.

The last musher was Gunnar Kaasen. Kaasen’s journey proved to be very hard. The temperature was so low that it was dangerous to be outside for too long. Plus, a blizzard blew snow so hard that Kaasen couldn’t see where he was going. 

But Kaasen’s lead dog, Balto, kept the sled going. He used his nose to figure out where the trail was. Since Gunnar couldn’t see anything, he had to trust Balto. The team traveled 54 miles (87 kilometers).

On February 2, 1925, Gunnar and his team of dogs arrived at Nome. The medicine was safe and sound, thanks to the hard work of many, many mushers and dogs.

Today, Balto is famous for his bravery. There’s even a movie called Balto, which tells the story of this canine hero!

A metal statue of a husky-type dog on a rock in a park setting

© Mkojot/

Balto is so famous that there’s a statue of him in New York City’s Central Park!

Alaska’s Biggest Race

Jim Watson—AFP/Getty Images

You can learn more about the Iditarod dog sled race at Britannica School!

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Word of the Day


Part of speech:



: a type of snowstorm in which blowing or falling snow and clouds make it very difficult to see

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All the hidden words are related to the Iditarod. Can you find them?


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