The Great Serum Run

Wednesday March 8 254P AKST

In the Winter of 1925 an epidemic of Diphtheria was raging in Nome, Alaska.  Children were dying daily and the only hope was to get anti-toxin to Nome.  Nome is frozen at sea by the Fall.  Airplanes had just come to Alaska in 1925 and could not fly long distances in the Alaskan interior.  When anti-toxin was sent to Anchorage, the only way to get it to Nome was to send it by train to Nenana and then let postmen who delivered mail by dogsled and native Alaskan men of the interior execute a 700 mile relay to carry the serum to Nome by dogsled.  The journey was made in 5-1/2 days in one of the harshest winters, with temperatures as low as -60F during the run.  Twenty mushers took part in this epic journey.  Grab a copy of "the Cruelest Miles" for an incredible account.   The serum made it to Nome, the epidemic stemmed, and the town essentially saved.

Airplanes and snowmobiles eventually replaced the sled dog team for mail delivery and basic transport in the Alaskan interior.  In the early 70's Joe Reddington and others started the Iditarod to honor the legend and utility of mushing in Alaska history.

Here is the historic route the mushers took back in January 1925, it is very similar to the race trail this year with Fairbanks start.

As Trent is in Tanana at the moment, here are the mushers that relayed the serum from Nenana train station to Tanana.