2011 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race begins

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race got under way in Anchorage with fans cheering on their favorite mushers and 1-dog teams at the race's ceremonial start in Anchorage.

There are 62 teams are entered in the 2011 Iditarod, which at 1,150 miles is the world's longest sled dog race.

The top 30 finishers will share a purse of $528,000, and the winner will get $50,400 and a new truck.

Defending champion Lance Mackey is trying for his fifth consecutive Iditarod win. Mackey finished the 2010 race in eight days, 23 hours, 59 minutes - the second-fastest finish in Iditarod history.

He says he has the confidence, desire and the dog team to do it again and reach Nome first.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)