ANCHORAGE (Reuters) – With snow falling lightly and crowds of spectators packed along the sidewalks of downtown Anchorage, 57 mushers and their dog teams started the 48th Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Saturday.
Musher Sean Underwood, a dog handler who became a last-minute substitute for four-time champion Jeff King after the latter had emergency surgery, greets the team inside King’s dog truck in downtown Anchorage at the start of the 2020 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, Alaska, U.S. March 7, 2020. REUTERS/Yereth Rosen
The 11-mile trot through Alaska’s biggest city was merely ceremonial, intended as a low-stress event where mushers could mingle with Iditarod fans. Timed competition for the 1,000-mile race is set to begin Sunday afternoon from a frozen lake in Willow, a community north of Anchorage, and the winner is expected at the finish line in Nome about nine days after that.
For racer Sean Underwood, Saturday’s pageantry was anything but routine.
Underwood, a 28-year-old…
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