The ceremonial start is important to the Iditarod for both image and financial reasons. So-called "Iditariders'' pay thousands of dollars each year in an auction for seats in the sleds of Iditarod mushers who drive their dog teams through the city.
Iditarod dogs are ultramarathoners, with the fastest among them running nearly 1,000 miles in a little more than a week, fueled by an amazing number of calories. Racing dogs may eat as many as 12,000 calories a day, the equivalent of about 22 Big Macs from McDonald’s. Jill Burke
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