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Published March 02, 2014, 06:57 PM

2014 Iditarod Sled Race started Sunday in Willow, Alaska

Grand Forks, ND (WDAY TV) - The 42nd Iditarod got underway today in Willow, Alaska. This year's race features several racers from North Dakota. Two in fact, have ties to Grand Forks and Fargo.

By: Michael Yoshida, WDAY

Grand Forks, ND (WDAY TV) - The 42nd Iditarod got underway today in Willow, Alaska. This year's race features several racers from North Dakota. Two in fact, have ties to Grand Forks and Fargo.

The Last Great Race on Earth. The Iditarod got underway this weekend. Ellen Halverson and Jim Lanier, both with ties to North Dakota, are taking on this thousand mile challenge in a year where race conditions are fast.

Ellen Halverson/Iditarod Sled Dog Race Musher: “There's mostly ice and a very thin layer of snow on that. So going is not going to be the problem. Stopping's going to be the challenge.”

Jim Lanier/Iditarod Sled Dog Race Musher: “it's going to be real rough so I'm going to wear my hockey gear and this helmet and I had four joints injected with cortisone.”

Jim was raised in Fargo and spent time studying at UND. Ellen grew up in eastern North Dakota, attended Concordia College and eventually UND's School of Medicine.

Ellen now calls Wasilla, Alaska home. This is her fifth Iditarod, her first since 2011. Another adventure that she trained for while balancing her family life.

Halverson: “You know I work and I have a child. So I run four days a week and I've been training 21 dogs.”

At seventy-three, Jim is the oldest musher in the field. He has entered and completed sixteen Iditarods including at least one in all five decades that the race has been in existence.

Lanier: “Being older has some advantages. Nobody cuts you any slack but I've got a lot of experience.”

Two mushers were again taking on the elements. Competing in a race not for the money but the satisfaction of finishing and the experiences made along the way with their 16 companions.

Kelly Maixner, a native of Golva, North Dakota, is also racing.

To follow the racers on their journey visit our website and click the easy links tab.

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