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, 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 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, doing their thing.
 
That could be bad news for the field 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 after traveling over two mountain ranges, the Yukon River and battling the 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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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why does Dallas Seavey have an advantage?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (46)
  • carolinev-2-bar
    3/10/2016 - 06:03 p.m.

    Dallas Seavey has an advantage because he has won the race three out of the last four times. He clearly has experience and a good team to help him win again. However, there are other former champions in the race as well. Six other racers have previously won and are looking to claim another title. Conditions in the race will play a big part in who actually wins, Seavey claims, "there's a lot of people who could win. There's a lot of people that maybe should win that won't." The race will last about nine days until a winner is crowned. I enjoyed this article and found it interesting because it is such an extreme sport and very specific to that region.

  • carsonb-2-bar
    3/10/2016 - 11:19 p.m.

    It is the annual Iditarod race to Nome, Alaska and 85 mushers started the race on March 6. It was so warm that one racer, Dallas Seavey, was busy packing his sled in a short sleeve shirt.

    Even with the warm temperatures, the race will take nine days. The mushers will travel over two mountain ranges and deal with strong winds along the Bering Sea coast. The race has many top champions in it. Besides Seavey, who has won the last three races, there are six mushers in the race who have won before. Dallas Seavey has the advantage because of his experience. Winning the last three races is impressive. I think his experience will help win again.

  • lucasl-3-bar
    3/11/2016 - 12:20 a.m.

    Dallas Seavey has the advantage of being the champion thrice out of the last four races, as stated by the article. Based on these results, he is likely to be in a position to win again, being confident and experienced on the route. Both he and his team have prepared and learned how to run the race. They are also accustomed to the weather conditions on the course, as Seavey noted that he was not bundled up in heavy clothing like the other mushers were. The article was quite interesting, and it gave a background on the participants of this year's Iditarod. It is quite surprising that the dogs and the mushers can travel so far and fast, especially when one takes into consideration the harsh conditions of Alaska from Anchorage to Nome.

  • johnd-3-bar
    3/13/2016 - 04:53 p.m.

    Dallas Seavey has an advantage because "Seavey has won three out of the last four races." This gives him a mental advantage he know he has beat all these people before so he bro any thinks he can do it again.

  • johnd-3-bar
    3/13/2016 - 04:54 p.m.

    It was an interesting article

  • madilynm.-tay
    3/14/2016 - 09:21 a.m.

    He has won the race three out of four times and a good team to keep him going to win the race.

  • tatumh.-tay
    3/14/2016 - 09:27 a.m.

    Dallas Seavey has an advantage because he has won 3 out of 4 races, which means he is an experienced musher.

  • evakathrynj.1-tay
    3/14/2016 - 09:33 a.m.

    Dallas Seavey has an advantage because he has won three out of his last four races. He is probably more experienced than some of the others.

  • meaganw.-tay
    3/14/2016 - 09:38 a.m.

    I don't know why people are interested in freezing. It just doesn't sound like my type of thing!!!!!!

  • mikaylaz.-tay
    3/14/2016 - 09:39 a.m.

    Dallas Seavey has an afdvantage because he's had lots of experience.

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