Race History

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It all started when...

Human powered racing on bikes, ski and snowshoes have been ongoing in Alaska on the Iditarod Trail since the mid 80's. The events were inspired by the late Joe Redington Sr. founder of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. He encouraged human powered events on the Iditarod Trail to ensure that the trail would stay open in future years.The Iditarod Trail Invitational (also known as the ITI) was founded in 2002 and took over from the former race format. It has been ongoing every year since then. The race existed under a different format before then since 1997 (350 mile) and the 1000 mile event was added in the year 2000.  The ITI was founded by Bill Merchant, a former competitor who retired from the race as race marshall in 2017. Kathi Merchant has been directing the event since 2003 and Kyle Durand came on as a co race director in the fall of 2017. Both Kathi and Kyle have competed in the ITI event several times, both have also completed the full distance of 1000 miles.

 A 130 mile distance with a finish at Winter Lake Ldoge was added in 2016 and we are offering a 150 mile edition finishing at Rainy Pass Lodge in 2019 which is half way to McGrath in the 350 mile race.This is an entry level winter ultra before qualified athletes tackle the longer 350 or 1000 mile event.  Rainy Pass Lodge is one of the oldest hunting lodges in Alaska and uniquely situated in the stunning Alaska Range a short distance from the famous Rainy Pass, also part of a former mushing and mail route to the Interior of Alaska from Knik.

Over time past competitors have started qualifier events in other states and countries such as the Arrowhead 135 in Minnesota, the Fat Pursuit in Idaho, Rovaniemi 150 K and 300 K in Finland, the Fat Viking in Norway and several others like the Susitna 100 and White Mountains 100 in Alaska. A full list of qualifier events is found on the website. Each are at least 100 miles in the wintertime, on snow and take place on winter trails.

Athletes have to qualify to enter the race and complete the 350 mile event once before tackling the 1000 mile distance to Nome, the full distance of the Iditarod Trail. 

The race accepts 75 athletes each year with an additional 20 for the 150 mile distance.