Behind Balto's Racing

Behind Balto's Racing

There is a lot more to racing than you think...

 The racing in Balto is something to be considered. For its a crucial factor that helped structure the movie itself.

The movie right away began with the racing of sled dogs. Like any typical race, it consists of more than one team. And as we all saw, Steele cheated and caused what seemed to be a more faster sled team to stumble and loose several precious seconds. So why didn't the team get up and keep running? They could've have a chance to catch up and hopefully beat Steele? Um, no. When it comes to racing, time is extremely valuable. Even two seconds makes a big difference. Unless the team was really fast and well trained, they didn't have much of a chance to catch up.



The next shot of racing that we see is when Steel turns the corner and is headed for the finish line. During a race, the last few meters are what really counts. When running, you should pace yourself and finish with a bang, giving it all you matter how tired or how much pain you are in. That may be the hardest part. As Steele made his way to the finish line, Balto jumped in unexpectedly. This most likely pressure Steele into going faster, a natural reaction when head to head with an opponent during a race. We then see Balto speed up a bit to grasp Rosie's hat in time.



Some time later, we hear the musher in discussion with another man, in which he says "I think he's loosing his edge". Is this true? Some think thats unfair since Steele has been running for quite sometime already. Wouldn't Balto be able to beat him since he was already tired? Not exactly. In running, you have to train endlessly and daily. Unlike most sports, running isnt about skill. You have to be conditioned and in shape, otherwise you won't be as fast and you tire out easily. As the leader, Steele must be in shape and more durable, and I have doubts that Balto trains daily and is in shape. Steele should've been faster than Balto. Plus, sometimes after a few miles into running, your body has adjusted and you don't tire as easily and can edure several miles more. If you pace yourself of course.

So why is Balto faster? Well, some people are gifted with the ability to run. Training daily makes them very fast durable. Balto could have some natural talent. His heritage assists him as well, for wolves may have a tendency to be far faster than dogs. Their body also assists them. As we can see, Balto is far smaller and leaner than Steele. This allows him to carry his body easier, although the lack of muscle may pull him back. Steele has a more muscular, which is naturally developed through practice. For males, muscle is built in the calves, back, and arms. But mostly in the legs, which gives them firm support and the strength to press forward.


Racing comes yet again and the sled team tryouts. The race starts correctly (with a gun) and each dogs bolt into a sprint. The key to racing is to start fast, but not so sprint completely, you would burn out easily and not be able to pace yourself correctly. Not too long after, Balto's talent for running is made clear and we can see  that he is fast. But wasn't the race unfair? We see that Balto is kicked aside and into the ice. Balto then pulls on a face of determination and catches up ahead through a different route. What basically did was take a different was which pulled him up ahead a lot faster than if he took the normal course. This does make it faster, but you tire faster if you have to heave your body through obstacles. Especially stairs. For those who haven't run up stairs as a conditioning method, it is extremely painful. Stairs add pressure to your calves and take away oxygen. Balto had to endure a little extra to catch up. This resulted in catching up and winning the race.

Just as a note, I can confirm that this information is legit. I've ran track and cross country for 7 years and I'm the varsity captain. I know just about all there is to racing.

38697 visits

Report this article Report this article

Last comments

June 03, 2010
Is not currently on the site

those are some good points and interesting to read. However, a lot of this information was disregarded in the movie, hence making it a bit pointless. When steele was racing Balto in the beginning of the movie, the competion was between them two along, not the rest of the team.

Plus, the movie itself wasn't trying to be accurate. it was mostly done to display the socialism and ranking amongst dogs, and Balto's place. Balto's main competition would be males, and his goal would be the pretty female.

Once again, i was pretty amused and interested by the providing information. Thank you

May 16, 2010
Is not currently on the site
I feel inclined to respond to this, even though it's a bit old. I agree with the "why the other team didn't catch up" part. Seconds indeed do count, for a LOT, especially if it's a sprint race. But even 1000 mile distance races are won and lost by 1 second (this happened in Iditarod a while ago). Besides that, if a team wrecks like that, the tangle can take a lot of time to undo. All of the necklines, tuglines, harnesses, etc all tangled is a massive mess that can take far longer than you'd care to deal with to sort it out. So, yeah, it's no surprise to me at all they couldn't catch up.

Next, regarding pacing, let me say a few things. Dogs are NOT like people. Huskies/racing sled dogs do NOT pace themselves well. That is why they have a driver/musher. The musher controls the pace because the musher *knows* how long the race is, at what ability their team is at, and how to regulate speed and pacing. The dogs, if you left it up to them, would sprint as fast as they could go until they burned out. They don't know how to pace themselves. Really. You also mention that Steele, as leader, should be in shape and the most durable. FALSE. The entire team should be at similar levels. Lead dogs are in no better shape than anyone else in the team. A team is only as fast and enduring as it's slowest and least enduring dog. People have this concept that lead dogs are somehow better than the swing, team, or wheel dogs. This is very false. They need to be good listeners, take commands well, and be willing to be up front. Yes, some dogs are better suited, but it's not the physical condition that makes a good leader. If that race was a long race, Steele should not have been faster. A dog fresh off the lot (aka, Balto) would certainly be able to overcome a team if they'd been out a while. If it was a sprint, it might be more up in the air, but we'll never know about that detail. There's also a million little details to consider about what happened out on the trail that can't be considered. So, regarding those things, it's extremely plausible that Balto would be faster at the end of a race (note too, he's not pulling anything!).

Now for a few misc. notes about that free-run race to find that fastest dog: That would be one of the most ridiculous ways to figure this out. I can see it now: dogs from all over, different kennels, etc running with no leash on them through a course they're just supposed to know. The whole scenario would be a disaster. I can only imagine the number of fights that would break out. *cringes* So, I think the whole idea is ridiculous, but anyway, moving on... Guns are no longer used to start sled dog races. A timer gives 1-2 minute warnings, then usually 30 seconds, 10, then counts 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. That was more of an FYI. Another note that bothered me in the whole movie: all the dog teams are made up of male dogs, so it appeared. Only Jenna was ever put into a harness, and even then, it was child's play. This is a poor reflection of what teams really look like. Most teams contain male and female dogs, with females performing just as good as the males. Males (due to size) can sometimes provide more power, but the females are sometimes the best leaders, right alongside of males.

I know, that was long, but if you too the time to read my response, I hope you learned something about the real world of dog mushing :) ~ Sol

April 05, 2010
Is not currently on the site
Klyaar----maybe, but racing is still racing

March 28, 2010
Usa Is not currently on the site
Wow, this is great! However, wouldn't running be somewhat different for dogs than for humans? I wouldn't know, I'm just asking.

February 08, 2010
Usa Female Is not currently on the site
I love animals 8D
Wolves can run up to 40 miles in single day! And I guess that Balto could catch up because Steele could have been tired with all that running. Nice article.

January 11, 2010
Cuba Is not currently on the site
Spirit/101 Dal Sources
Zuko speaks all truth :'D
nice article and yey another track member *huggles*

January 09, 2010
Usa Is not currently on the site
nice article!!! i really like how clearly the pics came out also....:icon14:

January 09, 2010
Is not currently on the site
no offense, but I never found it

January 09, 2010
Hungary Is not currently on the site
No offence, but I wrote an article about this... lol

Not connected : To be able to post a message site, you must be connected.

Register on the site!

Balto reads and more

Site activity

Franšais   English

RSS      Bookmark the site      Privacy policy      36 visitors connected

Generated in 0.663 seconds

To give you the best experience, this site uses cookies. By continuing, you're giving consent to cookies being used. Learn more... Close X