WASILLA, Alaska (KTUU) - On the Iditarod Trail, they are known as simply "the twins."
Kristy and Anna Berington
On Friday, twin sisters and mushers Kristy and Anna Berington were preparing for the 2017 Iditarod, by getting their sled dog teams checked by veterinarians.
"I don't have any children, but I call them my 'fur children.' They're my family, and they're so important to me," said Kristy Berington. Her sister, Anna Berington, agreed saying, "It's a family thing for us, but it's not just because Kristy and I are family, it's because the dogs are our families."
Anna Berington will be running her sixth Iditarod this year, while Kristy Berington will be running her eighth.
The twins' dedication to each other and the sport of dog mushing inspired Anchorage artist Andi Havens, and now Havens is creating a special portrait of them and their sled dog teams.
"These twins are amazing, because I have followed a lot of different mushers, but their bond with their dogs and the bond that they have together is phenomenal," Havens said.
The portrait has been more than a year in the making. Havens traveled to Nome to capture photos of the Beringtons and their teams to use as the basis for her painting, which depicts the mushers and their dogs during a Nome sunset.
"I feel it's an honor," Anna Berington said. "She's a very talented artist. We told our family about it, and our dad is super excited and said, 'You get to be immortalized forever in this painting,' and I was like, 'Oh, okay. Cool!'"
Havens hopes that the print sales of her painting, of the Berington twins, will help them meet the costs of continuing to run their dog teams.