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
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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

  • alexaf-ver
    3/11/2016 - 09:27 a.m.

    I found it surprising that even though Lance Mackey had cancer and other health issues he still wants to participate in the race.

  • livs-pla
    3/11/2016 - 10:38 a.m.

    The annual Iditarod race to Nome, Alaska has begun. The nine day excursion through various mountains, fields, and over frozen lakes is expected to challenge its competitors to the highest degree. This race is important because it allows those watching it to exercise their civic engagements. Watching the race likely encourages citizens desires to preserve natural habitats in Alaska. Likewise, the race unites the state of Alaska just as it has done for many of the past decades.

  • jontet-wes
    3/11/2016 - 02:36 p.m.

    I think is that dogs was fun bacause people an the race watching them

  • maceyw-col
    3/11/2016 - 04:33 p.m.

    Dallas Seavey has an advantage because he has more experience with mushing and he has won three races out of the four he has competed in. "That is because Seavey has won three out of the last four races."

  • briannam2-col
    3/11/2016 - 06:21 p.m.

    I think that Dallas Seavey has an advantage because him and his team are experienced, and he has a good dog team and he is a three time winner.

  • jenaem1-col
    3/12/2016 - 01:28 a.m.

    Dallas Seavey has an advantage because he has won three races and he's a bit familiar with the trail.
    "That is because Seavey has won three out of the last four races."

  • kennedyl-kut
    3/14/2016 - 07:45 a.m.

    I think Dallas Seavey has an advantage because he's thinking positive and he won 3/4 races in the past. Personally I think they should stop doing the Iditarod because in fourth grade we did research on the iditarod and a lot of dogs can die during the iditarod because they can freeze and get sick. But on the other hand it is a very cool and fun thing to watch. Maybe they should check the dogs more often.

  • prestynw-pom
    3/14/2016 - 01:21 p.m.

    I think it will take along time to get to Alaska 7 days bru

  • karliw-1-bar
    3/14/2016 - 07:54 p.m.

    Dallas Seavy has an advantage beacuse he has experience with the race.
    Seavy has won three of four Iditarods he's competed in, making him a crowd favorite. In fact, it seems so much like second nature to him that it is said that "...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." Although there are six other champions coming into this race, it is no suprise that Dallas's on top of his game, having won 3 consecutive Iditarods.

  • lilyg-2-bar
    3/14/2016 - 08:02 p.m.

    Dallas Seavey has an advantage because he has won some of these competitions before. "That is because Seavey has won three out of the last four races." I think this is interesting because so many people have won this and are good at it.

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