An Iditarod Without the Dogs

Bill Merchant is the man responsible for 1,100 miles of voluntary frozen torture known as the Iditarod Trail Invitational.

(photo: Joshua Borough for The New York Times)

Instructor Kathi Merchant, left, and student George Azarias made their way through the snowy terrain of Alaska during a winter training course for the Iditarod Trail Invitational.

“People need to come into it knowing that it’s unlike anything else, in that you really could get hurt out there. You really are on your own.”

By eliminating overnight stops and tripling the distance, organizers of the invitational reimagined the race as a largely unattended free-for-all intended to restore a sense of adventure.

About 90 percent of the entrants have dropped out along the trail.

Pushing the Limit – Snow Meets Survival – An Iditarod Without the Dogs – Series – NYTimes.com.

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