Mush! Iditarod race begins
Mush! Iditarod race begins Defending Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race champion Dallas Seavey (16) waves to the crowd as he begins the ceremonial start of the 1,000-mile race in Anchorage, Alaska, Saturday, March 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Dinneen)
Mush! Iditarod race begins
Lexile: 910L

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Eighty-five mushers have set off to conquer the toughest terrain this nation has to offer. They are vying to become the first to reach Alaska's western coast with their sled dog teams. It is the annual Iditarod race to Nome.
Scott Janssen, an undertaker from Anchorage who is known as the Mushing Mortician, was the first to leave across Willow Lake in the staggered start. That was March 6.
Dallas Seavey was only wearing a long-sleeved shirt as he packed his sled under blue skies and warm temperatures. He said it felt just like another day for him and his dogs. The team is doing its thing.
That could be bad news for the field. That is because Seavey has won three out of the last four races.
"If we have a good race, we should have a good finish. If we can maximize this team, we'll get there fast," he said of the dash for the finish line under the burled arch in Nome. The winner is expected to take about nine days.  The teams must travel over two mountain ranges and the Yukon River. They must battle fierce winds along the Bering Sea coast.
Seavey said there are "a lot of really good teams. There's a lot of people who could win. There's a lot of people that maybe should win that won't. That's actually why we go run the race. And we'll figure it out in a couple of weeks," he said.
Besides Seavey, there are six other former champions in the race, including four-time winner Lance Mackey.
Last year, Mackey struggled to finish the race. The cancer survivor also has a condition that affects blood circulation in his hands, and he had problems caring for his dogs last year. His brother, musher Jason Mackey, helped with dog care so Lance could finish the race.
When asked if his hands were good for this year's race, Lance Mackey said, "Well, to a degree."
He has had continued treatment on his hands, including a surgery last month that took out a nail bed on one finger. He said the pain level has been reduced a bit, and he was ready to get the race started.
"If we don't have a good run this year, it's not the dogs' fault. This team, in my opinion, and I know what kind of dogs it takes, this team has what it takes. It's up to me now to show the world, and they deserve it," he said.
Also in this year's race is two-time champion Robert Sorlie of Oslo. He leads a large Norwegian contingency among the mushers. However, Mats Pettersson will tell you there are eight Norwegians in the race, and not nine.
"I feel a little bit lonely," he said because everyone believes he's Norwegian, too. "I have to tell every guy I'm Swedish."
Adding to the international flair of the race is Kim Franklin, a 49-year-old musher from Herts, England.
This is her second race to Nome, but she's still considered a rookie after being withdrawn at the Rohn checkpoint in 2008. She had to qualify for the Iditarod last winter.
"It sounds like it's going to be a hard, fast trail and it's going to be a rough start to the race, I think," she said, adding her goal is to keep everything under control.
"I just want to run a slow, steady, safe race," Franklin said.

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Why does Dallas Seavey have an advantage?
Write your answers in the comments section below

  • seang6th-you
    3/10/2016 - 10:33 a.m.

    I think Dallas Seavey haves an advantage cause he won 3-4 of the racing and I think he also has an advantage cause he maxed mize the teams

  • GigiSylvester-Ste
    3/10/2016 - 11:33 a.m.

    It's so weird how they call them mushers. I wasn't aware that they held the Iditarod so late in the winter. I remember reading about the Iditarod in seventh grade science.

  • emilye-dal
    3/10/2016 - 11:44 a.m.

    Lance Mackey is really tough he is still racing even if he has cancer. He also has to deal with all the harsh conditions coming at him.

    He has a pretty good chance of winning he is a 4 time winner. So good luck to all of the racers!

  • prabhavk-buh
    3/10/2016 - 12:20 p.m.

    This article is about the Iditarod has begun. I think that the Iditarod is a great race. It is taken place in Alaska. I think that Iditarod racer Dallas Seavey is a great racer even though he is in second place following Jeff King.

  • ellasonr-wal
    3/10/2016 - 01:42 p.m.

    I agree that Dallas Seavey has and advantage because of the the 3 to 4 record he has.

  • joeg-orv
    3/10/2016 - 03:36 p.m.

    Dallas seavey has an advantage because he has one 3-4 which gives him intimidation and the confidence of winning.

  • jacks-6-bar
    3/10/2016 - 10:53 p.m.

    Dallas Seavey has and advantage because he and his team are experienced, and most of the other racers are less prepared compared to him. The article states: "...Seavey has won three out of the last four races." For the tough terrain obstacles, and temperature one must conquer in this race for 9 straight days, with competitive rivals, wining 3 of the last 4 races of this challenging task is quite impressive. He obviously has experience, running this lengthy and difficult race and winning numerous times. If he has endured the sled dog experience, the dogs themselves have seen the fullest, doing the majority of the physical labor. Seavey speaks quite passionately of his "team"; they definitely have a reputation of preforming well on the field. The dogs get the exercise while Seavey is getting to know the course, terrain, techniques, etc. With this combination of experience of dog sledding and an efficient team, he and his dogs are favored to win.
    Seavey also has an advantage because most of his rivals have less of an impressive record than his. The article states: "Last year, Mackey struggled to finish the race. The cancer survivor also has a condition that affects blood circulation in his hands, and he had problems caring for his dogs last year." Lance Mackey, a renowned competitor, has physical problems that limit his skill apparently caring for his dogs, which is important, since doing so would put them in better condition, thereby having a better likelihood of finishing first. Though respected, he has his own body working against him, which brings down his skill level majorly. Also, Kim franklin is another participant. However, she's, according to the article, mainly considered a rookie, as she only qualified for the competition last winter. Robert Sorlie of Oslo is quite respected, but he is only a two-time champion, while Seavey has one three times. Seavey qualifies better on most, if not, all, of his opponents.
    I found the article baffling to me; It was crazy on its own of how people could withstand the Arctic conditions mainly unsupervised for 9 days, and over painstaking terrain. I found it informative; I now know there is a world-wide respect for dog sledding, with many competitors throughout the world willing to race in it.

  • Eric0221-YYCA
    3/11/2016 - 12:03 a.m.

    The Iditarod might have been starting on again from the race to Nome which people had been waiting for so long to get back on the Iditarod race which people would like to see the Iditarod race to Nome. The people might have been waiting for the moment that they had been waiting for which people had been waiting to be seeing the Iditarod race to be going from a long time ago until today. The mushers that had been awaiting for the moment for them to be starting back on the Iditarod race which people would like to see the other mushers that had once won the race to Nome. People would like to see that the Iditarod race to be starting up again which people would like to see that they are going back to the race that they hadn't done for so long.
    Critical Thinking Question: Why does Dallas Seavey have an advantage?
    Answer: Dallas Seavey have an advantage because he had won 3 out of 4 races of the Iditarod race.

  • madelinew-1-bar
    3/11/2016 - 12:29 a.m.

    Dallas Seavey has won 3 of the last 4 races. This could mean more sponsors and he could have more experience.
    I didn't really understand this article. I wish they could have said some of the rules or how the race works so I could understand what they're talking about better.

  • dremonieb-wes
    3/11/2016 - 09:12 a.m.

    Dallas Seavey has an advantage because he's had experiences on running a race before . He's also won 3 to 4 races as well.

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