- Associated Press - Thursday, February 16, 2017

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - Preparations for the world’s most famous sled dog race are underway in Fairbanks now that the race’s official start has been moved from the Anchorage area.

Iditarod officials announced the switch last week due to low snow conditions in the Alaska Range, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported (https://bit.ly/2lNmveQ).

The Fairbanks North Star Borough has been working with several agencies to coordinate the event, which is expected to draw thousands.

The race starts March 6 on the Chena River and has been pushed back an hour to 11 a.m.

“It will help us with having increased daylight so everybody can see what they are doing,” said borough spokesman Lanien Livingston.

Explore Fairbanks spokeswoman Amy Geiger said the river ice was checked this week and deemed safe for competitors.

For those viewing the 1,000-mile race, officials are working to improve a shuttle bus transportation system after experiencing delays when the race started in Fairbanks in 2015.

“We want a smoother operation for transportation,” Geiger said.

Livingston encouraged those attending the race to “dress warm, and wherever they are going to view it, get out there early.”

Seventy-four teams are registered for the 45th Iditarod, including last year’s top 10 finishers. Last year’s winner, Dallas Seavey, received $75,000 in prize money and a new vehicle.

Fairbanks also hosted the Iditarod’s official start in 2015 and in 2003. The race to Nome usually begins north of Anchorage, in Willow.


Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, https://www.newsminer.com

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