Every year on the first weekend in March 80-100 men and women embark on a 1,1oo mile sled dog race from Wasilla, AK to Nome, AK. This is very exciting time for Alaskans and I thought I would let you all in on a little bit of the fun. And if you want a bit more interactive map and find out exactly where the mushers are click here. To find out a ton of interesting information about the 2008 Iditarod you can check out the official website.
For the next 8 or 9 days I will keep you updated on where the leaders are.
Let me introduce some to the top mushers to watch.
Martin Buser: 4 time champion. Holds race record of just under 9 days. Finished in the top 10 17 times including last year's 4th place finish.
Rohn Buser (Martin's 18 year old son) Rookie year. He won the Junior Iditarod last year.
Rick Swenson: Winningest musher with 5 championships over 3 decades. He has been in the top 10 24 out of 31 races that he has started.
Jeff King: Called Mr. Consistency. He is a 4 time champion who in the 18 years he has raced has only been out of the top 10 3 times. Finished 5th last year.
Lance Mackey : Last years winner who amazed everyone by being the first person ever to win the Iditarod after winning the Yukon Quest (another very long race) just weeks before. He is trying to do it again this year (He already won the Yukon Quest)
Mitch Seavey : 2004 Champion. 9th last year.
Paul Gebhardt: 2nd last year and 3rd in 2006
And now for the women. Back in the late 80's the slogan was, "Alaska. Where men are men and women win the Iditarod." For 4 years straight women were winning. Two amazing women, Libby Riddles and Susan Butcher, were the ones to beat. Here are the women in the race now.
DeeDee Jonrowe: We all love DeeDee. She has had 2 2nd place finishes, 4th in 2006 and 9 other top 10 finishes in the last 25 years. In 2003 she she started the Iditarod just 3 weeks after finishing chemotherapy for breast cancer. Go DeeDee!
Melissa Owens: At only 18 and a week or so she is the youngest woman musher. She won the 2005 Jr. Iditarod.
Sigrid Ekran: Last year's top rookie
Rachael Scdoris: She was born with congenital achromatopsia, a rare vision disorder. She is colorblind and her acuity is 20/200. Former Iditarod champ Joe Runyan will be her trail guide.
Zoya DeNure: Possibly the only international fashion model to race the Iditarod.
I took some pictures of the ceremonial start in Anchorage yesterday.
Ray Reddington Jr. is getting his dogs ready to go. These dogs are so excited to get going.
This is a great picture of the booties the dogs wear. They will go through tons of these throughout the race. They are essential for protecting the dogs paws.
These dogs had a lot of energy and took the corner rather quickly.
Now everyone has left Willow and are on their way to Yentna. They will reach this first checkpoint this evening.
Thanks so much for stopping by. Check back tomorrow for an Iditarod update.
Until next time...
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