Iditarod 2015 is Off and Running

I can confirm that Iditarod 2015 will go down in history as one of the wackiest, ever. Rain, hail, wind, and bright sunshine greeted thousands of race fans, hundreds of sled dogs, and 78 mushers for today’s Ceremonial Start in downtown Anchorage.

AKontheGO was there, providing PR support for musher Bryan Bearss, #48, who has taken the reins of injured cohort Karin Hendrickson’s team. I was able to spend a few hours capturing behind-the-scenes images for those of you unable to witness the hard work and dedication it takes to make a race of this magnitude possible.

The Restart (often referred to as the “real” start) begins Monday, March 9 in Fairbanks, thanks to a lack of snow over many parts of the trail. While I did have every intention of trundling AK Kid and I to the Restart event, unforseen illness has laid me down, flat. Rest assured, though, I’ll be providing updates for many top mushers participating in Iditarod 2015, and there is bound to be a few surprises.

Meanwhile, enjoy the photos of this amazing day. There is no other race like the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, and how could there be? There is no other place like Alaska.

~EK

Patiently waiting for the signal to get going.

Patiently waiting for the signal to get going.

 

A musher unloads harnesses for his team. Each dog has a harness sized to his or her body, as one too large or too small can impede progress and cause chafing.

A musher unloads harnesses for his team. Each dog has a harness sized to his or her body, as one too large or too small can impede progress and cause chafing.

 

Dogs are carefully "booted" before each run. The booties protect their paws over the long distances the dogs must travel. Mushers will use up to 5,000 per team during a race like the Iditarod.

Dogs are carefully “booted” before each run. The booties protect their paws over the long distances the dogs must travel. Mushers will use up to 5,000 per team during a race like the Iditarod.

 

Handlers escort teams to the starting line. Dogs are so excited they will run before allowed, thus causing chaos in the chute. Handlers are critical to start success and overall safety.

Handlers escort teams to the starting line. Dogs are so excited they will run before allowed, thus causing chaos in the chute. Handlers are critical to start success and overall safety.

 

Musher Bryan Bearss takes a moment with each member of his team before the start of Iditarod 2015.

Musher Bryan Bearss takes a moment with each member of his team before the start of Iditarod 2015.

 

Excited? Heck yes, sled dogs love their job.

Excited? Heck yes, sled dogs love their job.

 

The trail was an interesting mix of water, slush, and pavement. This team decided they'd rather wait it out than finish the last 100 yards. Or maybe they wanted AK Dad's grilled sausages!

The trail was an interesting mix of water, slush, and pavement. This team decided they’d rather wait it out than finish the last 100 yards. Or maybe they wanted AK Dad’s grilled sausages!

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