During the historic 1925 Race for Mercy (Serum Run), Togo, the legendary Siberian husky, led Leonhard Seppala’s team across dangerous Alaskan terrain. At the time, Togo was 12 years old, an age when most sled dogs would retire; but, with his boundless energy, courage and determination, Togo pulled through the harsh weather conditions and ran more miles than any other team in a race against the clock. To Togo, age was just a number.
Similarly, this notion is shared by 53-year old Mitch Seavey, winner of the 41st Iditarod, who also emerged as the oldest musher to ever win this challenging race. Mitch crossed the finish line in Nome clocking a time of nine days, seven hours, 39 minutes and 56 seconds.
A seasoned musher and Iditarod staple, Mitch raced in his first Iditarod in 1982 and has competed in every one since 1995, winning his first race in 2004. While the traditional Iditarod begins in Anchorage, in 1995, Mitch started from Seward—starting point of the 1925 Serum Run—which is 120-plus miles south of Anchorage. He then completed the full Iditarod trail, traveling further than any other musher, mirroring the toughness and tenacity portrayed by Togo, who ran five times further than any other sled dog team nearly a century ago.
To add to his victory, his son, Dallas Seavey, who, in 2012, became the youngest musher in history to win the Iditarod, came in fourth this year. This combination is a cause for celebration for Team Seavey, who now hold the records for both oldest and youngest Iditarod champions.
– Jesse Tarlton
The Iditarod was inspired by the 1925 Race for Mercy or Serum Run, during which life-saving diphtheria serum was delivered to Nome via sled dog teams. All of the dogs were amazing, including the most famous, Balto. But it was Leonhard Seppala and a 12-year old, undersized husky, named Togo, who led a team five times further than any other sled dog team over treacherous, unchartered territory. Without Togo, the villagers of Nome would likely have perished. This blog post is part of TogoRun’s campaign to tell Togo’s untold story.