Three Iditarod Champions Vie As Race Kicks Off With Ceremonial Start

"The 2024 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race kicked off with brisk, gusting winds and sunny skies at the race’s ceremonial start in Anchorage on Saturday, amid hundreds of barking sled dogs and thousands of cheering race fans.

A windchill of 2 below zero made for perfect dog mushing weather, as 38 teams set off from downtown at two-minute intervals on an untimed, 11-mile jaunt on the streets and public trails of Alaska’s largest city. The field includes three former champions, 16 rookies and 22 veteran mushers, all racing the 1,000-mile trail to Nome.

Each team is also allowed to have up to 16 dogs again. The Iditarod decided to return to that limit after five years with a 14-dog maximum.

While the ceremonial start is more of a sled dog pageant than a race, the real competition begins Sunday, when the teams take off from Willow and the race clock starts ticking. A winner is expected to finish in Nome roughly eight days later."

Casey Grove reports for Alaska Public Media March 2, 2024.

Source: Alaska Public Media, 03/04/2024