The first Iditarod race to Nome started March 3, 1973.
The distance in miles of the Idatirod is given as 1,049 but this is a symbolic figure. The distance is always over 1,000 miles and 49 was added to signify Alaska, the 49th state.
The Northern Route is used in even-numbered years and the Sourthern Route is used in odd-numbered years. Actual total miles of the Northern Route is 1,151; Actual total miles of the Southern Route is 1161.
The teams average 16 dogs, which means over 1,000 dogs leave Anchorage for Nome.
The closest finish was in 1978. Dick Mackey finished one second ahead of Rick Swenson. Mackey’s time was 14 days, 18 hours, 52 minutes and 24 seconds. The winner was decided by the nose of the lead dog across the finish line.
The largest number of mushers to finish a single race was 63 in 1992.
A red lantern is awarded to the last musher to finish. The longest time for a Red Lantern was 32 days, 15 hours, nine minutes and one second by John Schultz in 1973. The quickest Red Lantern musher was Ben Jacobson with a time of 17 days, 06 hours, 02 minutes and 05 seconds.
Rick Swenson is the only five-time winner of “The Last Great Race,” having won in 1977, 1979, 1981, 1982 and 1991. He is now the only person to win the Iditarod in three different decades, a record that will probably never be broken.
Four time winner, Susan Butcher, claimed Iditarod victories in 1986, 1987, 1988 and again in 1990.
The youngest musher to ever compete in the Iditarod was Simon Kineen in 1994. He had just turned 18 when the Iditarod started. The oldest musher to ever compete is Col. Norman Vaughan who was 87 when he completed the race in 1996. Col. Vaughan has completed the race four times.
Four hundred twenty one mushers from four continents and 12 foreign countries (Austria, Australia, Canada, Czechoslovakia, England, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia) have competed in Iditarod races since 1973, including 34 women.
The lead pair
On the alert
On the trail
Did you know...
The chalk on the white cliffs of Dover is composed of millions of skeletons of very small protozoans (coral, sponges and other small sea creatures).