As 2015 Iditarod Teacher on the Trail™ I have the privilege of being an IditaRider. The IditaRider program is an online auction in which bidders have the opportunity to bid to ride in a Iditarod musher’s sled during the Ceremonial Start in Anchorage. The IditaRider is a major fundraiser for the Iditarod.
My musher is 24-year-old, Wade Marrs. Wade races out of Stump Jumpin Kennel in Knik, Alaska. He has been racing since a very young age and knew when he was 5 that he wanted to race competitively. His biggest influence, his uncle, helped this dream come true by helping him learn about the sport and help him begin training.
Wade ran his first Junior Iditarod in 2007 and finished 4th in the Junior in 2008. In 2009, Wade ran his rookie Iditarod, finishing 47th. He finished again in 2013 and 2014 with his best finish last year at 16th place. Finishing in the top 20 has given Wade and his team determination to finish even higher. His ultimate goal is to win the Iditarod. Wade’s comments about this challenging goal is, “it is an interesting challenge that tests me mentally and physically but more so, it is amazing to watch my friends perform with me.”
I met Wade on Sunday at the start of the Junior Iditarod. He has two Juniors that have been training with him this year; Andrew Nolan and Marianna Mallory. Andrew placed 3rd in the Junior and received the Sportsmanship award. Marianna came in 6th place and received the Humanitarian award. Wade was very proud of his young mushers. Wade is looking forward to running the Iditarod this year. He is very happy with his dogs and feels confident to get out there and compete.
As part of the IditaRider experience riders will enjoy a meet and greet lunch with all the mushers tomorrow afternoon at the Millennium Hotel. Riders will also receive a couple VIP badges that will allow them access to VIP areas at the Ceremonial Start in Anchorage and the Restart in Fairbanks.
I am thrilled to have this opportunity to ride 11 miles with Wade and his dogs. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I am looking forward to. I am planning on wearing a GoPro camera and videotaping my experience as well as taking many pictures. Be on the lookout Saturday for my posting on my experience. Another heads-up, the The Sportsman Channel will be broadcasting the Ceremonial Start live on Saturday.