For Iditarod fans who’d like to see their favorite mushers head down the perilous trail for real, Willow is the place to be Sunday. Shuttles are available to and from the small Matanuska-Susitna Borough town, where the world’s most popular sled-dog race gets going in earnest at 2 p.m. before one of the biggest crowds to witness a sporting event in Alaska.
Beginning at 8 a.m. Sunday, shuttle buses will run from Alaska’s biggest city to the Iditarod restart in Willow. The buses take off from Anchorage Millenium Hotel, and tickets are available at the hotel’s volunteer registration desk. Volunteer tickets are $10 round trip, spectator tickets are $20 round trip. The volunteer shuttle leaves at 8 a.m. Two additional shuttles leave at 9:30 and 11. Shuttles departing Willow leave at 4, 5, and 6 p.m. There also will be shuttles available from Wasilla, Houston andTalkeetna.
GCI channel 1 will air the restart beginning at 1:30 p.m. It also will air the finish.
Martin Buser, wearing bib No. 2, will depart on his way to Nome at 2 p.m. Mushers will head off at two-minute intervals behind him. More than two hours later, Sonny Lindner of Fairbanks will be the last musher to depart.
The race clock starts as mushers leave the start line. Competitors make up the difference in starting times during a 24-hour mandatory layover that each must take somewhere between Willow and Nome.