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A Woman Who Did Not Know the Word 'Quit'

Susan Butcher has died of leukemia. She was 51 years old. I wouldn't be surprised if you've never heard of her, but Butcher was one of the world's most remarkable athletes. She was also one of the world’s most remarkable women. Butcher won the legendary Iditarod a record four times — that crazy, inspired, dangerous race in which grown adults guide teams of huskies 1,161 miles across the frozen and barren wilderness of northern Alaska. I’ll be tuning in to All Things Considered this afternoon when Melissa Block does a journalistic eulogy. "I do not know the word 'quit,'" Butcher once said, "either I never did, or I have abolished it."

She could have frozen to death, or starved to death, or collapsed through tissue- thin ice and drowned. But Butcher told an interviewer that one of her closest calls was with a crazed moose.