Skip to comments.Record Field Starts Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race
Posted on 03/06/2004 2:31:07 PM PST by nuconvert
Record Field Starts Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race
Mar 6, 2004
By Mary Pemberton/ Associated Press Writer
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Fans crowded downtown Anchorage on Saturday to get autographs and be photographed with their favorite mushers in the annual send-off for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. "I'm so excited," said Nancy Jostad of Hoboken, N.J., who came to Alaska especially for the start of the race. She waited in line to have her picture taken with Aliy Zirkle, one of 17 female racers in the 2004 field.
"Women rock," Jostad said.
The ceremonial start of the 1,100-mile race from Anchorage to Nome - the world's longest sled dog race - is held each year on the first Saturday in March. The serious racing begins Sunday.
This year's competitors come from as far away as Italy, Germany and Norway.
Suzanne Jammin came all the way from Washington, D.C., to be photographed with four-time Iditarod winner Martin Buser, who is running in his 21st Iditarod.
"We have followed him since the beginning," said Jammin, who recently moved from Alaska.
Buser came in fourth last year and won in 2002. "I'm just getting good," he said.
The Iditarod, now in its 32nd year, commemorates a 674-mile relay race from Nenana to Nome in February 1925, when dog teams successfully delivered serum to prevent an outbreak of diphtheria among children.
A record 87 teams are competing this year. The purse is more than $700,000, with the winner getting $69,000 and a new pickup truck worth more than $41,000.
It normally takes the top teams nine to 10 days to reach Nome.
Only Buser has done it in less than nine days, finishing the 2002 race in eight days, 22 hours and 46 minutes.
Buser said his team this year is a lot like the 2002 team: "Quiet, confident, even, deep and balanced."
I could not find a map updated with Willow as the restart but...
We watched from downtown for the start but moved near 20th and Ingra for a much better view.
I know, I live in central Alaska. Big news here..
Iditarod is hard on man or beast and equipment.....
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