It's still three months before the start of Iditarod, but some mushers are already in town to prepare.

Twelve rookies are participating in the annual rookies meeting at The Lakefront Anchorage this weekend. 

One of them is Willow's Gabe Dunham.

"It's good information being tossed at us. And there's a lot of it, so I'm sure it's helping," she said during a break.

Italy's Fabio Berlusconi will also make his race debut next year.

"I still don't know if I can make it. It's a challenge about it, and that's what feels good," he said. "If I knew that I could do it without trouble, then it would take away a lot of the spirit of it."

The rookies meeting is designed to help the mushers understand all the resources they have that can help get them to the burled arch in Nome.

"It's not just about running the race, this rookie meeting, it's about all the support that they have out there," said Race Director Mark Nordman. "Our communications, our trailbreakers, our education program."

Dunham says she's been running dogs for 20 years. "So there're a lot of tricks up my sleeve that someone that's run maybe four or five might not know yet."

But Berlusconi is taking a more cautious approach. "You're still a rookie until you finish the race."

Iditarod's ceremonial start takes place at Fourth Avenue and D Street in downtown Anchorage on Saturday, March 7. The restart happens the next day at the Willow Community Center.

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