Iditarod 2010 Recap
By Robert Forto, PhD and Michele Forto
What started out as a Facebook message almost a year ago has brought us full circle with the cumulation of our stories, our radio show, our travels and our experiences covering the 38th running of the 2010 Iditarod.
March 7, 2009
At the start of last year’s Iditarod I made it known to everyone who would listen or even care, about my intentions to run the Last Great Race in 2013 on my radio program, The Dog Doctor Radio Show (http://www.dogdoctoradio.com) By doing so I knew it was time to get to work. I started what I call the Mushers Workout at 24-hour fitness and I began my quest to start to build a team to race in my two qualifiers for the race in four years. I had no idea where this road would take me but as they say it is a journey and one that I am learning from every day.
In early May I was on Facebook and I saw that Iditarod musher Hugh Neff was booking school tours in Colorado. I thought how cool it would be to bring Hugh to my daughters school the next school year and maybe she would even learn something! Through the summer Hugh and I remained in contact and we finally got a date set for him to speak to the students at Prairie Middle School the next September.
With the start of the school year, the final preparations were put into place to have Hugh Neff speak at our daughter’s school. The event went well, even though Hugh showed up without a sled. Not to worry, we ran home and got ours and the program went off without a hitch and they kids loved it! After the program, Hugh, a childhood friend of his, and myself had breakfast and talked dogs, sports and life. It was a great time. We promised to stay in touch and if I ever make it to Alaska give him a call.
In mid-January I received another Facebook message. This time it was from an author, leadership trainer, business coach and adventurist, Chris Fuller. He was putting on a seminar for his book, Iditarod Leadership (http://www.iditarodleadership.com) about how to harness the power of your team in business using the Iditarod team as a model. I spoke to Chris and his wife several times and made arrangements to attend the seminar in Anchorage to coincide with the start of this year’s Iditarod.
With final preparations made and thanks to our partners at E-travel Unlimited (http://www.etravelunlimted.com) for all of my travel plans I was well on my way to Alaska. My wife and business partner gave me the requisite days off from work and we had a cushion in our budget to allow me to travel and I was set to go on March 3rd.
March 4, 2010
I arrived in Anchorage in the middle of the night and attended a Chris Fuller’s Iditarod Leadership conference the next morning at 9 am. While waiting in the lobby of the Millennium Hotel for a cab to the airport to pick up a rental car, I ran into Hugh Neff. He invited me to come out to his place the following day to talk dogs and talk about the race. That evening, after the conference I attended the Musher’s Banquet and met a lot of great folks. I learned quickly that people came from all over the world to be a part of the Iditarod and I was glad to experience it first hand.
March 6, 2010
Saturday, March 6, marked the ceremonial start of the Iditarod in downtown Anchorage. What an experience. I was privileged to handle for Hugh Neff’s team at the starting line and spend the day with these remarkable people. I met Hugh’s Idita-rider from 2008 and this year’s as well and we all got to know each other at an overpriced lunch of $17.00 burgers at the hotel. It is true everything costs twice as much in Alaska!
Mush! You Huskies Nightly Radio Reports
Each night we hosted a podcast, Mush! You Huskies (http://www.mushingradio.com) and we updated you on the standings, the mushers, and tried to give you a little behind the scenes story. The show became pretty successful and we were given several compliments for our coverage of the race from our musher friends. It was a blast to do and we are glad that we did.
Interview with Hugh Neff on Mush You Huskies
We ended our coverage of this year’s Iditarod by having Hugh Neff on as a guest on our wrap up show. His interview brought to light what he mushes for. Not the glamour or the money but to be a part of a journey that is sometimes bigger than ourselves. Hugh is a special kind of musher. He gives back. Just as he did in September of last year at my daughter’s school, he teaches children all over the country to never give up on their dreams.
In the coming weeks I will be traveling to California to talk dogs with a musher friend of mine, and we are looking at property in Northern Minnesota that will allows us to train for the races starting this winter.
My first race will be a race in West Yellowstone, Montana in December, followed by some other mid-distance races to gear up for the qualifiers the next winter.
We will continue to host Mush! You Huskies and are planning some great shows in the near future on topics such as urban mushing, Iditarod nutrition, Iditarod history, musher interviews and more. We hope that you will become loyal listeners.
Never Forget You Dreams and See You on the Trail!
Dr. Robert Forto is a musher training for his first Iditarod racing under the Team Ineka banner. Michele Forto and Robert host Mush! You Huskies, a bi-weekly radio show on Http://www.blogtalkradio.com/dogworks