One of the great sporting traditions will get underway with the 40th running of the Iditarod Dog Sled Race, a contest which has been held continuously since 1973.
Mushers from around the world will lead a team of 12 to 16 dogs that will start in Anchorage, Alaska, working their way through 23 checkpoints before reaching the finish line in Nome, Alaska. The top mushers will finish between 7 and 10 days, while the last teams will take closer to two weeks.
Alaskans have dominated the event recently with Lance Mackey winning from 2007-2010 and John Baker taking the crown last year.
Date: Saturday, March 3 - Unknown, beginning at 2 p.m. EST.
|Saturday, March 3||Race Start||GCI Channel 1||1:30 p.m.|
|Sunday, March 4||Restart||GCI Channel 1||5:30 p.m.|
|Unknown||Finish||GCI Channel 1||TBD|
Past Champions in the field:
|Jeff King||1993, 1996, 1998, 2006|
|Martin Buser||1992, 1994, 1997, 2002|
|Rick Swenson||1977, 1979, 1981-1982, 1991|
What they're saying
The greatest drawback to the Iditarod has been that some of the dogs that start the race don't make it to the finish line. Fortunately, that didn't happen in 2010 or 2011, something that Jill Burke of the Alaska Dispatch believes will be closer to the norm, even if some risks will always be there.
The stars aligned in 2010 and 2011, delivering great weather, decent trails, and no run-ins with moose. Years of medical research on sled dogs was also starting to pay off, leading veterinarians and mushers toward a potent change in their regimen: heartburn medicine. Just like NFL superstar quarterback Brett Favre, race dogs are popping a small but powerful pill to keep their intestines as finely tuned as the rest of their bodies. It's thought the change has and will continue to save lives.
Prediction: Lance Mackey
Not only is he a four-time champion, but Mackey has won twice on the Northern route that will be used this year. He had a poor outing last year and will be more focused on getting back to the top. A win would tie Mackey with Rick Swenson for most wins ever in the event.