The first Iron Dog event started in 1984, in Big Lake following the Northern Route of the Historic Iditarod Trail to Nome. The event began as the “Iron Dog Iditarod”, but the name was quickly changed the next year to the “Gold Rush Classic”, in 1990 the race was recognized as the “Iron Dog Gold Rush Classic” for a decade until Tesoro Corporation became a title sponsor, thus recognizing the event as the “Tesoro Iron Dog”. Today, we simply refer to the race and ourselves as The Iron Dog. The event is sponsored by the Alaska National Guard which has allowed the Iron Dog to grow significantly since 2009.
Today’s Iron Dog course distance is over 2,000 miles, starting in Big Lake with a halfway stop in Nome and finishing in Fairbanks, making it the World’s longest snowmobile race. Participants cover some of Alaska’s the most remote and rugged terrain while confronting some the harshest winter conditions. Survival skills are essential, making it the World’s toughest snowmobile race. All teams in race classes are a team of two persons and two snowmobiles for safety.