Unlike any other event in the world, Alaska’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race covers over 1,150 miles of the most extreme and beautiful terrain known to man: across mountain ranges, frozen rivers, dense forests, desolate tundra and windswept coastline.
The race began in 1973 to test the best sled dog mushers and teams. The inception was to commemorate the 1925 diphtheria epidemic that threatened Nome, and serum delivery via dog much teams.
Today, a ceremonial start occurs in the city of Anchorage (on the first Saturday of March) and is followed by the official restart in Willow (the following Sunday), a city in the south central region of the state. The restart was originally in Wasilla, but because of too little snow, the restart was permanently moved to Willow in 2008. The trail is composed of two routes: a northern route, which is run on even-numbered years, and a southern route, which is run on odd-numbered years. Both travel approximately 1,049 miles from Anchorage to Nome and take nine to fifteen days to complete. The current fastest winning time record was set in 2002 by Martin Buser with a time of 8 days, 22 hours, 47 minutes, and 2 seconds.