By Neil Torquiano
Channel 2 News
11:15 AM AKST, March 2, 2013
The world famous Iditarod XLI trail sled dog race kicked off Saturday morning in downtown Anchorage with thousands gathering to watch the ceremonial start.
4-time champ Martin Buser took off first among 66 mushers from West 4th Ave and D St, near the Balto statue, around 10 a.m. Saturday. Teams must have at least 12 dogs and a maximum of 16 dogs at the restart.
“I like to be out on the trail and get it on in and get the game on, so for me it’s very comforting to be out on the trail,” Buser said after being asked what’s it like starting the race.
The ceremonial start passes through downtown and ends near the Campbell Airstrip. Drivers should expect delays until about 7 p.m. Saturday.
The 1,000-mile trail restarts Sunday in Willow and ends in Nome.
Last year’s winner, Dallas Seavey was the youngest musher to claim a championship at 25-years-old. He finished in 9 days and 4 hours and 29 minutes.
Libby Riddles, the first female Iditarod Champ, said her 5 teams to watch were Aaron Burmeister, 4-time champ Jeff King, 2012 champ Dallas Seavey, Ramey Smyth, and Aliy Zirkle, who finished second in 2012.
The top 30 will split a purse worth $600,000 with the winner taking home $50,400.
To read a complete list of teams racing in this year’s race, click here and for more Iditarod extras, check out KTUU’s special Iditarod webpage.
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