Iditarod Fast Facts

(CNN)Here's a look at what you need to know about the Iditarod, the most well-known dogsled race in the world. It is named after the Iditarod Trail, an old mail and supply route, traveled by dogsleds from Seward and Knik to Nome, Alaska.

March 7, 2015 - The Iditarod Dog Race is set to begin in Anchorage, Alaska.

March 1-March 11, 2014 - Dallas Seavey is the winner of the 42nd annual Iditarod Dog Race.

Facts:
The race ranges from 975 to 998 miles long, based on whether the southern or northern route is being run. The length can also vary from year to year based on course conditions.

The race traditionally begins on the first Saturday in March, starting in Anchorage and ending in Nome.

The beginning of the race in Anchorage is considered a ceremonial start.

The competitive part of the race begins in Willow, the next day.

    There may be only one musher (person who drives the sled) per team.

    There are, on average, 16 dogs on each team. At least five dogs must be in harness (pulling the sled) at the finish line.

    The dogs are usually Alaskan or Siberian Huskies and are tested for strength and endurance before being selected.

    There are about 25 checkpoints at which each participant must stop.

    The musher must make a mandatory 24 hour stop at some point during the race.

    The route alternates every other year, one year going north through Cripple, Ruby, and Galena, the next year going south through Iditarod, Shageluk, and Anvik.

    Records:
    Most Consecutive Wins - Lance Mackey won four consecutive times from 2007-2010.

    Most Wins - Rick Swenson has won five times, in 1977, 1979, 1981, 1982, and 1991.

    Winner with the longest running time - Carl Huntington finishes the 1974 race in 20 days, 15 hours, two minutes and seven seconds.

    Winner with the shortest running time - John Baker finishes the 2011 race in eight days, 18 hours, 46 minutes, 39 seconds.

    Winner by a [dog's] nose - Dick Mackey finishes the 1978 race one second ahead of Rick Swenson. The winner is decided by the nose of the first dog in the line.

    First female winner - Libby Riddles in 1985.

    Youngest winner - Dallas Seavey, 25, in 2012.

    Oldest winner - Mitch Seavey, 53, in 2013.

    Timeline:
    1925 -
    A diphtheria outbreak in Nome, Alaska, creates an emergency need for medical supplies to be delivered, and dogsledders make the journey. The current race commemorates this mission and partially follows the same route.

    1964 - Dorothy Page, Chairman of the Wasilla-Knik Centennial Committee, begins brainstorming about a dogsled race across the Alaskan terrain to celebrate Alaska's Centennial in 1967. Page and Joe Redington Sr., a local musher, come up with the idea for the race.

    March 3, 1973 - After shorter races held in 1967 and 1969, the first full length race takes place. The course is approximately 1,100 miles long. The first winner is Dick Wilmarth with a time of 20 days, 0 hours and 49 minutes.

    1983 - The starting line is moved to downtown Anchorage at 4th and D Street.