Iditarod sled dog race kicks off in Willow, Alaska

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The dog team of Mike Ellis during the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Saturday, March 2, 2013, in Anchorage, Alaska. The competitive portion of the 1,000-mile race is scheduled to began on Sunday in Willow, Alaska. (AP Photo/Anchorage Daily News, Bill Roth)66 mushers taking part in 41st race

The 41st Iditarod Trail sled dog race officially started in Willow, Alaska, on Sunday.

On Saturday, mushers took part in a ceremonial start in Anchorage, Alaska, which is 80 kilometres south of Willow.

Sunday, 66 mushers started racing roughly 1,800 kilometres to Nome, which is on Alaska’s west coast. 

Tagish Lake, Yukon, musher Michelle Phillips said she’s very pleased with her team and she’s confident they can handle anything, including the weather on the trail.

“Typically, it seems that the Iditarod is warmer here at the start. Of course, the weather changes all the time at the start, so I don’t really focus on that. Because it’s been warm for quite a while in the Yukon, the dogs have really adjusted to the warm weather so it’ll be fine,” she said.

Phillips placed 16th in a field of more than 60 mushers last year. This year she hopes to make it into the top 10.

Gerry Wilomitzer is the only other Yukoner registered. He withdrew from last year’s Iditarod, saying his dogs weren’t enjoying the race.

The winner gets $50,000 and a new truck.

Related Links:

Official site for Iditarod 2013

For more northern stories from CBC News, click here

 

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