The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race has run since 1973 along the route that brought medicine from Anchorage to remote Nome when the city was in danger from a diptheria outbreak. Several Nome children had fallen ill with the contagious disease in the winter of 1925, and the only way to reach them was by a relay of dog teams. Balto, a Siberian Husky until then not considered particularly remarkable, led his team through a bitter cold blizzard to deliver the antitoxin on the final leg of the thousand-mile journey. Balto's feat stopped the outbreak and only five of the 1400 Nome residents died.
Balto's fame led to a life-size statue in New York's Central Park, the city's only monument to a dog.