ANCHORAGE, Alaska —
But the 42-year-old musher said he doesn’t expect a good run after having just scratched in the Quest in February because of a team of ailing veteran dogs. His Iditarod team consists mostly of a bunch of puppies — his words.
The only reason he’s going through with the race is because he has a film crew following him for a documentary, he said.
“I fully expected this year to be the year to fully redeem myself, with the best team I ever had,” he said. “And they got sick on me.”
Mackey, however, has been known to talk like that even during his championship races, so longtime fans know not to count him out of the running.
Whoever reaches Nome first wins a new truck and a cash prize of $50,400. The rest of the $600,000 purse will be split between the next 29 mushers to cross the finish line.
Unseasonably warm weather earlier this year complicated training for mushers in some areas, but Iditarod officials never worried it would affect the race.
Now, there is plenty of snow along the trail, even too much during one stretch, race marshal Mark Nordman said this week. High winds knocked trees over in another section, but trail breakers have been building bridges there.
“So far, we’re set to go,” Nordman said.
Follow Rachel D’Oro on Twitter at https://twitter.com/rdoro