- Associated Press - Monday, March 10, 2014

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Mushers and their dogs are chipping away at the 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race as volunteers and city crews prepare for the coming onslaught of dog teams and spectators at the finish line in Nome.

The racers have a series of checkpoints to hit before they’re expected to begin reaching the old gold rush town no later than Tuesday. With snowfall light this winter, Nome has been stockpiling snow, which was moved to the final stretch.

As front-runners - including Aliy Zirkle who’s looking become only the third woman to win the race - aim to keep their edge, others have retired.

At least 16 mushers have scratched, leaving 53 teams on the trail. The race began March 2 in Willow with 69 teams.

The first to reach Nome receives $50,000 and a new truck. The 29 teams after that win cash prizes decreasing on a sliding scale. All other teams finishing the race receive $1,049.

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