First Winner of Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Dies at 75

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Dick Wilmarth, who won the first Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in 1973, has died. He was 75.

    His daughter, Rebecca Wilmarth, says he died Wednesday after a battle with cancer.

    Dick Wilmarth was one of 34 teams in the initial Iditarod from Anchorage to Nome.

    He told The Associated Press in 2001 that he put a dog team together a few months before the race, mostly by swapping goods for dogs in Alaska Native villages along the Kuskokwim River. He got five dogs for a snowmobile.

    The first Iditarod was a tough go, with hardly any trail markers along the 1,000-mile (1,609 kilometer) route. He finished the race in 20 days, about twice as long as mushers today.

    The mine worker and pilot never raced the Iditarod again.

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