She spent 87 hours in temperatures plunging to -50 degrees, tended sled dogs who needed emergency rations, and endured blizzards so bad that the competition had to be stopped twice so the competitors could take shelter. LIBBY RIDDLES earned her place in history the hard way — by being the first woman to win the Iditarod — the 1,100-mile trans-Alaska dog sled race often referred to as “The Last Great Race on Earth.”
Women make up nearly a third of the entries in the 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, considered one of the toughest endurance competitions in the world. Proportionally, top-ten Iditarod finishes between women and men are often an even split.
- Libby Riddles was the first woman to win the Alaskan dogsled race, the Iditarod, in 1985. She mushed her 13-dog team over 1,100 miles across Alaska's ice fields and snowcapped mountains. It took her just over 18 days to make this grueling trek though blinding blizzards.
- Susan Butcher, the most famous female dogsled musher in the world, was a four-time winner of the Iditarod. She won the race in 1986, 1987, 1988, and 1990. She was named outstanding woman athlete of the world in 1989.
- Deedee Jonrowe has both the fastest time of any woman in the history of the Iditarod and 13 top 10 finishes in her career. In her most recent Iditarod in 2006, she placed fourth with a time of 9 d 16 h 25 m 50 s.