August 4, 2023

The UP200 lost a dear friend and longtime supporter, Ikey Todd, on June 18, 2023. Aileen “Ikey” Todd was involved with the UP200 for 25 years. She started with organizing road crossings, helped coordinate the Adopt-A-Musher program, worked on the newsletter, and eventually took on the complex assignment of coordinating race headquarters for many years. Ikey was the first winner of the Bev Stroh Award for outstanding volunteerism. She had an adventurous and irrepressible spirit. We’re grateful that Ikey channeled her time and energy in support of the races for so long. She is missed now– and her presence will be missed even more so at race headquarters this coming February. We asked some of Ikey’s friends to share their remembrances:

Allan Orazietti, retired race marshal: “Ikey was a great friend and will always be greatly missed. Ikey was the first person you wanted to see when arriving at the UP200. She was the glue that held it together at Race Headquarters, always calm and happy while things were crashing down around her. A true professional and an honor to work with. You will not be forgotten Ikey Todd. R.I.P.”

Brenda Ransom, longtime volunteer: “Oh my dear sweet Ikey Todd……what words to describe a sweet soul gone to soon. My friendship with Ikey was simple.  We could go months without talking and as soon as we connected, it was like we were never apart.  She was the first person I would seek out as soon as I hit Marquette and got to race headquarters.  And it didn’t matter what she was doing, it got dropped, and a hug ensued.  And then it was back to work and getting race things together.  There were many years I would be up late the night before the race helping her with name badges, musher lists, and so much more.  The conversation and laughter would continue for hours.  Ikey had a heart of gold and would do anything for you.  All you had to do was mention it, and she got it done!  All the little details that she would take care of behind the scenes and the big issues that would pop up, would be taken care of in the same calm, cool, collective manner.  There is no replacing Ikey.  She was a one in a million person that never met a dog she didn’t like!”

Pat Torreano, longtime volunteer, past president of the UPSDA: “Aileen “Ikey” Todd was an angel on earth.  How do I know?  Angels do great things quietly, unnoticed, without fanfare. They are hardworking, able to smile through adversity, true and honest to friends and foe. Ikey ran headquarters for the sled dog races through an illness that would stop the strongest among us. Her headquarters was full of life and laughter.  She loved greeting the public, vets, judges and especially her mushers. When troubles occurred, during the races, she always sprang into action and saved the day. She was a driving force behind the rest of us. We knew we could always count on Ikey to make us successful.  MUSH ON DEAR FRIEND.”

Darlene Walch, UPSDA president: “For many years Ikey was the welcoming face of the UP200 and Midnight Run.  With exuberance and a big smile she welcomed race officials and mushers to pre-race events, providing them with numerous details to help them through the races. Ikey could be found at race headquarters throughout the weekend helping to ensure all went well and that people had what they needed to work the all-night shifts. She possessed an indomitable spirit, an impish humor, and an abiding love for the sled dog races and everyone involved with them that will long be remembered.”

Pat Woods, longtime volunteer: “Ikey Todd was the young woman that happily took over the running of Headquarters for the UP200 following the retirement of Marva Ittner. Ikey loved working with all the mushers, judges, the public and especially the dogs. She was always ready to lend a hand wherever needed, and that was in a lot of places. Ikey had many health problems, but she never complained and was always kind. She was a very strong woman and I feel very blessed that she has been a part of my life. Mush on dear friend!”