Fan-friendly event kicks off Iditarod race across Alaska

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) The sound of howling dogs is filling downtown Anchorage as the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race gets underway Saturday.

About 2,000 dogs belonging to the teams of 72 mushers are waiting their turns to hit the trail for this year's running of the world's most famous sled dog race.

The ceremonial start is a fan-friendly event designed to show off mushing to fans in Alaska's largest city. It will see mushers leave every two minutes in a staggered start along Fourth Avenue. The mushers will run their teams for 11 miles, on city streets and trails lined with fans.

The race turns more serious Monday when the competitive portion of the Iditarod starts in Fairbanks. The winner is expected in Nome about eight days later.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.