Three-time Iditarod Sled Dog Race champion Dallas Seavey uses a 50-foot treadmill in a refrigerated trailer to train his dogs during the off-season.

Alaska Dispatch News
The Iditarod is just a dog race. Just a big game. But to so many people, it's much more. It's a hobby, it's a passion, it's a career, it's a way of life. Then to some people, it is life. It's who they are. I know because I'm related to them.Danny Seavey
As of Wednesday night, Wasilla’s Ellen Halverson -- the only two-time Red Lantern Award winner in race history -- was in good shape to claim a record third last-place trophy.Matt Tunseth

Ever wonder why mushers do what they do? How they endure the cold, and darkness for 1,000 miles along the Iditarod Trail? In 2014, Alaska Dispatch News created a musher profile series featuring some of the top Iditarod mushers in the state. Learn about their training methods, their dogs, and their unbridled determination.

Tara Young
Mushing has been a surprising venture for Eureka musher Brent Sass, who has wholeheartedly accepted the wilderness lifestyle many mushers have rejected in recent years. Sass claimed his first Yukon Quest championship in February. Suzanna Caldwell
Pete Kaiser, 27, stands out as the first Bethel musher to win his hometown’s big event, the Kuskokwim 300, in 29 years. Now his fast team of mainly 3-year-olds returns to the Iditarod trail.Lisa Demer
Anchorage cardiologist Mark Selland has completed a long list of adventures that includes climbing Mount Everest, but running the Iditarod has him gearing up for his biggest challenge yet.Suzanna Caldwell

As an Anchorage cardiologist, Mark Selland has an impressive medical resume. He also has an impressive resume when it comes to outdoor escapades. But he says running his first Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race may be his toughest challenge yet.

Loren Holmes,Suzanna Caldwell
Yukon musher Rob Cooke looks to accomplish a quirky feat: be the first Siberian husky team to complete the Yukon Quest and Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in the same year.Suzanna Caldwell

Jeff King thinks of the Iditarod as a 10-day stretch, in which his dog team must go 100 miles each day. When his dogs run out gas, he pulls over and fills up the tank by feeding and resting them.

Tara Young