Throughout human history, we experience times of hardship that require us to work together to practice resilience, perseverance, and grit. As we begin the school year of 2020-21, our community of UW Huskies is no exception to the challenges and changes the COVID-19 Pandemic has brought to our planet and communities. It is in the spirit of resiliency, community, and perseverance that LiveWell & your Peer Health Educators bring you the “Great Husky Race through COVID.”

Our Great Husky Race through COVID draws from the history of huskies and humans mushing and racing hundreds of miles through rugged winter terrain to bring necessary medicine and supplies to rural communities in the Northwest. One such time that the current Alaskan Iditarod is based on was the Serum Run to Nome, also known as the Great Race of Mercy, that occurred in 1925 during a diphtheria epidemic. Historical routes that huskies ran as sled dogs ranged from 400 to 1000 miles. More information about our inspiration and the history of The Great Race of Mercy and the Iditarod is at the bottom of the page.

During this COVID-19 Pandemic, we will come together in packs to power through the challenges of this time by engaging in community and using movement to foster emotional, physical, and mental resilience. Movement and belonging are two of the most effective ways to manage anxiety, depression, stress, and loneliness. By moving our bodies and engaging with others in our pack, we take care of our bodies, minds, and each other in playful, fulfilling, and healthy ways during the challenges of COVID-19 and remote learning. One of the best things to do for your mental and physical health is get off Zoom and screens, get outside (respecting the six feet CDC guideline), and move your body!

What is the Great Husky Race?

  • It’s a VIRTUAL team contest of movement! All race communications, programming, and checkpoints are conduced virtually.
  • You can choose what distance you want to aim for as there are a variety of race trail options. You can walk, jog, run, wheelchair, or skip to get your movement logged in whatever device you care to use (watch, phone app, etc.).
  • Each week you and your Husky team will submit how much you walk/ran/wheelchair and a Peer Health Educator will add it up so that weekly totals and progress of your husky pack on the “trail” can be announced.
What do I do?

Once the Great Husky Race begins, start walking, running, and wheeling about! Shortly before the start of the race you will be assigned to a Peer Health Educator who will be your point of contact throughout the race. They will send you a link where you will submit your proof of movement every week. You can use a picture of your Fitbit, Garmin or Apple watch, or a screenshot of your phone that has tracked your distance for the day or week- and submit either daily or weekly.

At least once a week, we will release updates of where all the teams are in their progress and ongoing educational tips for holistic health and well-being.

Throughout the 12 weeks of this race and Autumn Quarter, Peer Health Educators will host (Virtual) Checkpoints that are optional for husky packs to attend to socialize with each other across teams, learn about health and wellness topics, and overall foster community.

Are there prizes?

This is a process oriented challenge, not product oriented. We want you to do it for the value of the journey rather than the end result. The practice of journey before destination is a foundational key to strengthening mental-emotional resilience and social well-being, and this is a great time to put it into practice. Being present and valuing the journey is mindfulness in action. That being said, we will have gifts and surprise swag to celebrate involvement and participation that will be revealed throughout the race.

How do I participate?

Registration is closed for the quarter, and all our Huskies are on the trail! Our 45 teams are mushing their way through COVID-19 and the end of 2020!

The inspiration…

“In January 1925 an outbreak of diphtheria threatened to wipeout the town of Nome, Alaska, sparking fears that an epidemic would spread and kill thousands if antitoxin medicine was not supplied. The antitoxin could only be delivered by dogsled across a portion of the Iditarod Trail, the only route accessible for transporting goods during the harsh winters. A heroic relay of Husky dog teams transported the antitoxin across the 674 mile trail from Nenana to Nome braving gale force winds, -85 degree temperatures, and whiteout conditions across the remote Alaskan Interior. The life-saving serum was delivered to Nome in a record-breaking 127.5 hours, without a single broken vial. This came to be known as the 1925 Serum Run. Many aspects of this journey are commemorated annually in the Iditarod dog sled race.”

It is in the spirit of the 1925 Serum Run that we bring you the Great Husky Race of 2020 through COVID-19. To learn more about the history of the 1925 Serum Run (The Great Race of Mercy) run by Togo and Balto, read this.

2020 Team Distances – Final:

We had 46 Teams on the Trail for The Great Husky Race! This included:

180 Undergraduate Students, 25 Graduate Students, and 45 Faculty/Staff!

Team 1 ended nearly at Galena, 530.43mi 
Team 2 ended far past Nome, 1295.9mi
Team 3 ended just past Ruby, 504.48mi
Team 4 ended nearly at McGrath, 293.41mi
Team 5 ended just past Rohn, 196.6mi
Team 6 ended just past Ophir, 384.93mi
Team 7 ended nearly at McGrath, 305.1mi
Team 8 ended far past Nome, 1120.17mi
Team 9 ended nearly at Koyuk, 795.64mi
Team 10 ended just past Ophir, 397.1mi
Team 11 ended at Skwentna, 81.5mi
Team 12 ended at Golovin, 881.53mi
Team 13 ended at Takotna, 334.88mi
Team 14 ended at Takotna, 325.57mi
Team 15 ended far past Nome, 1068.5mi
Team 16 ended at Yentna Station, 53.76mi
Team 17 ended nearly at Nulato, 575.93mi
Team 18 ended just past Campbell Airstrip, 28mi
Team 19,  0mi
Team 20 ended at Nikolai, 260.61mi
Team 21 ended just past Ophir, 374.42mi
Team 22 ended nearly at Unalakleet, 689.07mi
Team 23 ended just past Ruby, 509.65mi
Team 24 ended almost at Yentna Station, 45.24mi
Team 25 ended far past Nome, 1155.22mi
Team 26 ended a little past Skwentna, 97.9mi
Team 27 ended at Kaltag, 622.84mi
Team 28 ended just past Rainy Pass, 168.32mi
Team 29 ended just past Elim, 868.99mi
Team 30, 0mi
Team 31 ended just past Campbell Airstrip, 22.31mi
Team 32 ended nearly at Nikolai, 232.9mi
Team 33 ended nearly at Ruby, 485.34mi
Team 34 ended nearly at Galena, 524.98mi
Team 35 ended nearly at Ophir, 346.88mi
Team 36 ended nearly at McGrath, 315.22mi
Team 37 ended just past Rainy Pass, 163.12mi
Team 38 ended nearly at Rohn, 179.5mi
Team 39 ended at Nulato, 582.65mi
Team 40 ended at Nikolai, 263.63mi
Team 41, 0mi
Team 42 ended nearly at Unalakleet, 690.69mi
Team 43 ended far past Nome, 1109.22mi
Team 44 ended far past Nome, 1075.2mi
Team 45 ended nearly at Kaltag, 610.45mi
Team 46 ended nearly at Nikolai, 234.65mi

Where are we racing to?

The Great Husky Race is to do the full 1,049 miles but your racing pack is welcome to set an alternative goal from the race markers we will use throughout the 10 weeks:

360 miles

– your pack has raced across the width of Washington state

408 miles

-your pack has completed the distance of Nome to Candle that was raced in 1908 when the first Siberian Huskies were introduced to Alaska.

674 miles

– your pack has completed the distance of the 1925 Serum Run to Nome, also known as the Great Race of Mercy, that occurred during a diptheria epidemic from Nenana to Nome (Alaska)

938 miles

– your pack has completed the main trail from Seward to Nome

1,049 miles

– your pack has crossed the line and completed the full distance of the current Alaskan Iditarod