WILLOW, Alaska — Dogs aching to run bolted out of the chute Sunday to launch the 41st running of Alaska’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
Now 65 teams will be making their way through punishing wilderness toward the finish line in Nome on Alaska’s western coast 1,000 miles away.
The Iditarod kicked off Saturday with an 11-mile jaunt through Anchorage, 50 miles south of the real starting line in the town of Willow. Sunday’s event marked the competitive portion of the race.
Sunday’s mood was charged with tension as mushers switched to the business of racing — at least among top mushers like defending champion Dallas Seavey and four-time winners Lance Mackey, Jeff King and Martin Buser.