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On February 2, 1925, a dog sled team delivered medicine to the town of Nome, Alaska. The team delivered a crucial supply of diphtheria antitoxin, preventing an epidemic of the deadly disease in the isolated Arctic town.
 
The first leg of the relay, involving 20 mushers and more than 100 sled dogs, had begun five days earlier in Nenana, Alaska, about 1,046 kilometers (650 miles) east of Nome. The mushers raced across frozen tundra, icy rivers, forbidding mountain ranges, and shifting sea ice. Dogs and mushers also had to endure blizzards and avoid other animals, such as moose, bears, and reindeer herds.
 
The athleticism and dedication displayed by the dogs and mushers inspired Joe Redington Sr., to organize one of the most intimidating races in the world—the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. This was done to honor the fading culture of dog sledding and to pay tribute to the trail used by the team in the serum run. Every year, hundreds of athletes (both human and canine) compete in a grueling test of physical and psychological endurance from Anchorage, Alaska, to Nome.
Noun

region at Earth's extreme north, encompassed by the Arctic Circle.

athlete
Noun

person who participates or competes in sporting events.

blizzard
Noun

storm with high winds, intense cold, heavy snow, and little rain.

crucial
Adjective

very important.

endure
Verb

to survive.

Noun

outbreak of an infectious disease able to spread rapidly.

forbid
Verb

to disallow or prohibit.

grueling
Adjective

physically difficult.

inspire
Verb

to influence to act.

isolate
Verb

to set one thing or organism apart from others.

medicine
Noun

substance used for treating illness or disease.

musher
Noun

driver of a team of sled dogs.

psychological
Adjective

having to do with mental facilities and awareness.

relay
adjective, noun

type of team racing where athletes compete in sequence. Also called a relay race.

toxin
Noun

poisonous substance, usually one produced by a living organism.

tundra
Noun

cold, treeless region in Arctic and Antarctic climates.

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