Iditarod dog sled race underway

The Iditarod, a dog sled race held in Alaska, got underway this weekend, but with far fewer dog teams than expected. Last year’s race saw 96 teams enter, which was a record for the gruelling 1,100 mile dog sled race, but this year only 67 dog teams entered.

The race got underway yesterday as dogs ran through the snow in the 11 mile first leg ceremonial run through the city streets. The ‘real’ race gets underway today in the small town of Willow, near Anchorage. The teams will race from the town out into the wilderness.

The race is to commemorate a medicine relay that took place in 1925.

The number of competitors has dropped from previous years due to the current economic climate. The race carries a $4,000 entry fee and the races have to take time off from their jobs before they’re able to train and compete.

The rewards for the winner and worth the arduous task though, as the winner takes home $69,000.