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What you should know about the Iditarod dogsled race

By Shania Shelton

Published March 4, 2020

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Before the Iditarod dogsled race begins on March 7, find out some fast facts about the event.

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1.

The Iditarod dogsled race is named after the Iditarod Trail, an old mail and supply route from Seward and Knik to Nome, Alaska.

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2.

The race started in 1925, after a diphtheria outbreak in Alaska created an emergency need for medical supplies. Dogsledders made the delivery.

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3.

The race ranges from 975 to 998 miles long. The length depends on if the southern or northern route is being run and varies based on course conditions.

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4.

There is only one musher, which is the person who drives the sled, and 12-16 dogs per team.

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5.

The first Iditarod was held in 1967. 58 mushers competed along a 50-mile trail.

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6.

Participants must stop at all of the about 25 checkpoints and make a 24 hour stop at some point during the race.

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7.

While the first day of the race is considered a ceremonial start, the next day is usually when the competitiveness kicks off.

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