Preparations for the 2020 Iditarod are underway

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The 48th Iditarod is only about two weeks away and Thursday, preparations have already begun.

Volunteers, Air Land Transport representatives, and Iditarod Trail Committee staff started packing straw beds for the sled dogs.

The beds will be delivered to various checkpoints across the Iditarod trail.

“(The straw) goes through the bypass mail system. So all the straw will go out to McGrath, Unalakleet, or Nome,” said Mark Nordman, Race director and Marshal, “then from there either bypass mail, a system unique to Alaska, otherwise through our Iditarod Air Force.”

Nordman says the Iditarod is looking good for this year's running.

“It’s good, we've got 58 teams right now signed up,” said Nordman, “We have multiple past champions in there again. A really good bunch of rookies. We had our rookie meeting first weekend in December, I was impressed with them and it looks like we are on a roll.”

The ceremonial start for the 2020 Iditarod will take place in downtown Anchorage on March 7.

A day later there will be a re-start at the Willow Community Center where the teams will start their journey to Nome.

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