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March 08, 1992|CHARLES SOLOMON

IDITAROD CLASSICS by Lew Freedman (Epicenter Press: $12.95, illustrated). Inspired by Leonhard Seppala's 1925 rescue mission that brought diphtheria serum from Anchorage to Nome, the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race ranks among the most grueling sports events in existence (the 1992 competition began on Feb. 29). Each year, men and women drive teams of seven to 20 huskies over the torturous 1,100-mile route, despite a windchill factor that may cause temperatures to drop to 100 below. It's also one of the few sporting competitions in which the sexes compete as absolute equals: Endurance and foresight count for more than muscular strength. This collection of first-person accounts of white-outs, frozen equipment, lost sleds and an attack by an enraged moose suggests the Iditarod is best enjoyed from a warm armchair.

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