Iditarod under way

Mushers and their dogs took a leisurely jaunt through Anchorage on Saturday in the ceremonial start of Alaska’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. The 1,000-mile race kicked off in a festive mood as 66 teams posed with fans and sailed their sleds 11 miles on streets covered with trucked-in snow. Each sled carried an Iditarider, a fan who won the short ride at auction. The real race starts today in Willow, 50 miles to the north. “Today is fun, with a capital F,” said smiling veteran musher Aliy Zirkle, the runner-up in last year’s race. “If you don’t have a good time on Saturday with your dogs and all these fans, you’re not in the right sport.”The winner gets a new truck and $50,400. The rest of the $600,000 purse will be split between the next 29 mushers to finish. – AP


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