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 usually begins the next day in Willow, but depends on weather conditions.
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.
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.
Fastest winning time - Mitch Seavey finishes the 2017 race in eight days, 3 hours, 40 minutes, 13 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 across the finish line.
First female winner - Libby Riddles in 1985.
Youngest winner - Dallas Seavey, 25, in 2012.
Oldest winner - Mitch Seavey, 57, in 2017.
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.
March 12, 2016 -
A man on a snowmachine hits two teams competing in the Iditarod, killing one dog and injuring several other dogs. Alaska state troopers arrest Arnold Demoski, 26, of Nulato, after they find the snowmachine they believe was used in the incidents.