The Iditarod, known as the last great race on earth, is part of the lure, lore and legend of Alaska.
More than any other event, it captures the spirit of the Last Frontier. The race, like Alaska itself, is about wide-open spaces, challenges and freedom. While it may mean miles of solitary mushing, the race, nevertheless, epitomizes teamwork. For many, it's become a symbol of turning dreams into reality by tackling what seems like a nearly impossible journey.
The legendary race gets under way Saturday. Among the field of 68 contenders are seven Kenai Peninsula residents: Paul Gebhardt, Jon Little, Tim Osmar, Lance Mackey and three generations of Seaveys -- Dan, Mitch and Danny.
The peninsula mushers have established reputations as tough competitors, good sports and lovers of mushing, which challenges body, mind and spirit. They may not all finish in the top 10, but they will all run a good race -- no matter the time it takes to finish.
Lots of eyes will be on Osmar, following his first-place finish last month in the Yukon Quest. (See related editorial below.) Osmar is hoping to become the fourth musher to successfully complete both the Quest and Iditarod in the same year. We wish him -- and all the peninsula mushers -- well.
The Iditarod is always fun to follow, but the peninsula mushers make it even more exciting for peninsula residents, who will be cheering the hometown teams on throughout the 1,150-mile race.
Good luck. The entire peninsula is pulling for you.
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