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Iditarod dog sled race kicks off in Alaska

March 2, 2013 at 1:32 PM

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, March 2 (UPI) -- The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race kicked off Saturday in Anchorage, Alaska, with a short showcase of the competitors, officials said.

On Sunday, mushers and their dogs will set out on an 1,000-mile journey from Anchorage to Nome,

Last year's top 10 participants are back this year, plus a handful of others who fall into the top-contender category, the Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News reported.

"It's a unique mix of young and old," said reigning champion Dallas Seavey of Willow, who turns 26 on Monday, "and both are at their best and both are in their prime. There's no way to compete with experience but young mushers like me and [Pete Kaiser] have done this their entire lives -- 20-plus years, but we started when we were 5."

The top 30 finishers will split a purse of $600,000 -- $50,400 will go to the winner. Each musher who finishes 31st or lower will receive $1,049.

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