I learned from Rachael’s father that more people have reached the summit of Mt. Everest than have ever completed the Iditarod. A new record was set last year by John Baker in 8 days, 18 hours, 46 minutes and 39 seconds. Rachel’s best time so far was in 2006 in which she finished in 12 days, 10 hours, and 42 minutes.
As you can tell this isn’t a race for wimps. Rachael averages less than 5 hours sleep a day because the feeding and caring for her 16 sled dogs comes first. It is only after her team is cared for that she takes time out for her own needs of sleep and food.
How does a person prepare for such a race? Lots of practice! Rachael has been mushing since she could walk and started racing competitively at the age of 11. She was a tremendous distance runner, but the pounding her back has taken mushing has caused her to turn to competitive biking as part of her off-season preparation. She missed winning this year’s U.S. National tandem by less than a tenth of a second.
My time spent with Rachael made it clear she eats, lives and dies dog sledding. You can tell how much she loves the sport, her 104 Alaskan Sled dogs, and the experiences it has afforded her. She was nominated for an ESPY, recognized by Glamour Magazine as a “Woman of the Year,” carried the Olympic torch, was a Rose Festival Starlight Parade Grand Marshal and was recognized by Peter Jennings as ABC World News Tonight “Person of the Week.”
What I admired most about Rachael was how such a remarkably strong person – in both spirit and physical condition – could be so humble. She has a quiet confidence about her which is laced with quick wit and a genuine smile.
Oh, by the way, I should probably mention Rachael is legally blind and has been since birth. Her blindness doesn’t define her, but it certainly adds to her mystique. She dreamed as a small child to one day race across the Alaskan wilderness behind the amazing power of 16 of her closest canine friends. She has done that and now she wants to do it less than 10 days!
She needs new sponsors (her current sponsorship contracts have expired.) I can’t think of a better person to represent a company, so if you have any ideas I am certain she’d love to hear from you.
What dreams do you need to go catch?