Iditarod Mushers Prepare for Start of Famous Race

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WILLOW, Alaska (AP) - It will soon be a dog race.

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race begins Sunday afternoon in Willow, Alaska.

Sixty-nine mushers will leave the community just north of Anchorage hoping to become the first to reach the finish line in Nome. Between them and the finish line are about 1,000 miles of unforgiving Alaska terrain.

The race normally takes about 10 days.

Warm weather this winter has prompted some concerns about the trail. Race marshal Mark Nordman says crews have been working on it daily for the past month and a half, cutting back brush and smoothing out moguls.

The start of the race is staggered, meaning one musher will leave Willow every two minutes. First out of the gate this year will be Curt Perano, from New Zealand.