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Mushers set off on Yukon Quest

Feb. 2, 2013 at 4:24 PM

WHITEHORSE, Yukon, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Twenty-six mushers kicked off the 994-mile Yukon Quest dogsled race through northern Canada into Alaska Saturday, race officials said.

The racers are competing for $100,000 in prize money, divided among the top 15 finishers, with the winner taking home $18,000.

Race officials said dogs that have never run the race have been outfitted with microchips to allow veterinarians to track the dogs' health. Their status will be evaluated at each race checkpoint to ensure they're up to the challenge.

The race begins in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, and the first-place team is expected to reach the finish line in Fairbanks, Alaska, in about 10 days, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., said.