Alaskans love winter recreation, and this race is a testament to the cold-weather fanatics of the far north. Following portions of the original Iditarod trail and the frozen Susitna River, this 100-mile race is open to bikers, runners, and cross-country skiers. Set in February on President’s Day weekend, the racers deal with 13 hours of darkness and whatever the winter elements might be that week: minus-20 degree temps, snow, wind, or maybe even rain.
It’s not easy to watch the race, since most of it runs through in inaccessible wilderness. But the start is at Point Mackenzie, about two hours north of Anchorage, where you can come and watch racers lined up in running shoes and neoprene socks, fat-tired bikes, or cross-country ski gear.
The Thursday before the race, there’s a gear check and trail report in Anchorage, if you want to meet racers (they come from all over: Europe, Florida, even New Zealand)! Most of the racers finish in around 12 hours, but for safety precautions they have to carry a sleeping bag, bivy sack, insulated water bottles, and headlamps. About 100 racers participate in this event, so come meet these hardcore winter recreationists at the race start or the Thursday check.