Inspired by the famed Iditarod Sled-dog Race from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska, The North Face Endurance Team athletes Diane van Deren and Kami Semick ran the 350-mile barren, snowy wasteland between Knik and McGrath, Alaska. The event, known as the Iditarod Trail Invitational, is the one of the world’s longest human-powered ultramarathons. These two athletes, who have many race wins between them, braved temperatures down to minus 45(F), high winds, and even the occasional ornery moose. To make matters more difficult, the event was virtually self-supported, with only a few checkpoints along the way. Many participants pulled their supplies in 40-pound sleds.
Diane ran the Iditarod Trail Invitational to raise funds for Craig Hospital, a spinal cord and traumatic brain injury rehabilitation and research hospital in Englewood, Colorado. Diane herself was diagnosed with epilepsy while pregnant with her third child. After ten years of frightening and debilitating seizures, she underwent radical brain surgery that removed part of her right temporal lobe. Today, she is seizure-free.
Kami ran the Iditarod Trail Invitational to raise money for the Rehabilitation Center at St. Charles Medical Center serving Central Oregon. "I want to give disabled children and young adults in central Oregon access to physical therapy and rehabilitation in order to live life to the fullest extent possible," says Kami.