The Alaskan Iditarod is a grueling race that pits man and sled dogs against the tundra and towering spruce forests, white out conditions and sub zero temperatures; it can take up to two weeks to complete. While this is clearly an example of the manliest of competitions, for most of us, we don’t live in an area that has such a harsh clime to test ourselves against. We also likely don’t have dog sleds, dogs, or really any practical experience in not dying horrifically in an icy pit of despair. So how do we urbanites get in on the glory? Enter: The Urban Iditarod… also lovingly known across the continent as the Idiotarod. Forget dogs, you have drunken and fearless buddies! Sleds need dogs, so forget that- your bros can push a shopping cart! And instead of checkpoints through the Alaskan wilderness, you can navigate a 4 mile maze of streets (and more importantly) bars!
The Urban Iditarod: The Best Beer Swilling, Cart Pushing Race You’ve Never Heard Of
Yeah, this is actually a thing. A glorious, glorious thing founded originally in 1994 in San Francisco. However, I’m writing this article about the Portland Urban Iditarod since I’m trying to familiarize myself with it…. The UFM team is going to try to register for the 2012 race. In any case, if you’re looking for info on particular cities’ races, check at the bottom of this post. I’ve done my best to collect up links to different push-your-idiot-drunken-friends-around-in-stupid-costumes-trying-not-to-puke Idiotarods so you don’t have to go looking yourself.
On to the “rules:”
- all ‘dogs’ (men, women, slave laborers, robots and sentient plant life- no actual dogs allowed) must be tied to the cart, and must finish together.
- teams must provide their own shopping cart, as well as creating their hitching system.
- the cart must be pulled sled dog style… no attaching it to the bumper of your van and throwing your dogs in the back.
- one musher rides the back of the cart. Mushers and dogs may be rotated.
- teams have one hour to complete each leg of the race and ‘refresh’ their team.
- it is the musher’s responsibility to ensure the dogs are well watered. Bros don’t let bros go dry.
- barking is required, ass sniffing is encouraged. (This is verbatim from their site.)
If this doesn’t deserve to be one of the world’s best loved…sports… then truly, there is no justice. Though many of the races have no official winners, most have a “best in show prize” for teams unified through ridiculous costuming. Sabotage and bribery are highly encouraged in some of the races, so it’s apparently common to throw snowballs, create elaborate diversions, lie about routes and flirt outrageously with other teams at the rest stops. Because there is no way to adequately describe this phenomena, here are a few of my favorite photos from the last few years’ races… I swear there are actually shopping carts under there; this shit is all mobile.
Looking for your local Urban Iditarod? Here are links to some of the most popular local races. Let me know if there’s a working link to one that I’ve missed.
Portland Urban Iditarod
Chicago Iditarod: The Chiditarod
Boston Urban Iditarod
St. Louis Idiotarod