Iditarod underway in Alaska

Sled dogs began the 1,000-mile race from Willow to Nome on Sunday.
By Evan Bleier Follow @itishowitis Contact the Author   |   March 3, 2014 at 10:00 AM

WILLOW, Alaska, March 3 (UPI) -- The 1,000-mile Iditarod sled dog race across Alaska from Willow to Nome got underway on Sunday for the 42nd time. This year’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race has 69 teams of “mushers.”

Mitch Seaveys, 54, won last year’s race, while his 26-year-old son, Dallas, won the 2012 edition.

The 2013 runner-up, Aliy Zirkle, is hoping to take first place this year. “A lot of friends, family, fans really want me to win,” Zirkle told the Anchorage Daily News. “So you would think there would be more pressure. But no one puts more pressure on themselves than me.”

The younger brother of four-time winner Lance Mackey, Jason Mackey, is hoping to become the fourth member of his family to win the race.

“Before I’m done running dogs in my lifetime, I will win this race. And this year could be the year. I’ve got the nicest team I’ve ever had, by far,” Mackey said. “There might be faster teams, but I don’t think speed is the key. Healthy, strong dogs is what it’s going to take.”

The race usually takes about 10 days.

[Anchorage Daily News] [Iditarod]

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