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Nearly 1,000 dogs and 62 mushers are racing 1,131 miles across Alaska in the 38th annual Iditarod dogsled race. Teams departed from Anchorage on Saturday, March 5, and are expected to arrive in Nome by March 15 at the earliest.
Teams pass through 25 checkpoints scattered among large cities, small towns and even three locations normally uninhabited during the year. The race "causes a yearly spurt of activity, increased airplane traffic and excitement to areas otherwise quiet and dormant during the long Alaskan winter," according to Iditarod.com. "Everyone gets involved...the race is an educational opportunity and an economic stimulus to these small Alaskan outposts."
The top 30 finishers share a purse of $528,000. The winner is awarded $50,400 and a new truck. The others receive anywhere from $46,300 to $1,500, according to the Anchorage Daily News. "There are numerous great looking dog teams, but noteworthy for having super strong teams are Lance Mackey, Martin Buser, Dallas Seavey, Hans Gatt, Paul Gebhart and Mitch Seavey," says race analyst Bruce Lee. Four-time defending champion Mackey is currently in the lead, checking into Rainy Pass earlier this morning.