Iditarod Dog Sled Race Under Way in Alaska

Posted March 5th, 2012 at 1:05 pm (UTC-5)
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The 40th Iditarod dog sled race is under way in the far northwestern U.S. state of Alaska.

Some 60 teams, made up of mushers and their dogs, will spend eight days braving cold temperatures and snow traversing the Alaskan wilderness.

Participants took part in a short ceremonial run Saturday, ahead of Sunday's start of timed competition from Willow, north of Anchorage, to the town of Nome.

The winner of the 1,600 kilometer race receives a $50,000 prize as well as a new truck.

The Iditarod marks the 1925 trek of couriers who raced dog teams more than 1,000 kilometers to deliver medicine to Nome, to prevent a diphtheria epidemic threatening the town.