If – as the modern Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race likes to claim – the event is “all about the dogs,” the time has come for The Last Great Race to harness technology to make the event easier on the dogs.
Four words: Equal run/equal rest.
Satellite tracking of dog teams now gives Alaska’s biggest sporting event the opportunity to slow the race by requiring equal amounts of run and rest based on movements tracked from space. Doing this would not only benefit the dogs, it should also help make an increasingly boring race more interesting by forcing mushers to figure out a strategy to make the rule work to their advantage.
With an equal-run/equal-rest rule, some mushers are certain to try to bank rest at the start of the race to allow for a push along the Bering Sea coast because “negative splits,” speeds slower at the start of a race than at the end, lead to fast finishing times.