The race starts in Anchorage each year on the first Saturday in March. It ends when the last musher reaches Nome.
The race has started in downtown Anchorage since 1983. The teams leave the start line at the corner of 4th and “D” at two minute intervals, starting at 10 a.m.
There are an average of 65 teams starting the race each year.
The mushers follow multi-use trails through Anchorage to Campbell Airstrip, an 11 mile run.
An IditaRider auction is held each year whereby fans can bid to be a rider in a musher’s sled from the start line for the first 11 miles. This auction opens on October 1 and closes at a specific time and date in January each year. The money raised is used to offset expenses of the race and to provide each musher who finishes the race after the top 20 (who receive cash prize winnings), with $1,049. This helps the mushers get their teams home.
The Saturday start is a ceremonial start and does not count in the overall time in the race to Nome.
On the following day, Sunday, mushers will again line up for the ReStart in Willow. At 2:00 PM, the first teams will depart on their way to Nome, leaving in 2 minute intervals until all of the teams have left. The clock starts for the mushers as they leave the starting line. The difference in starting times is ‘made up’ on a musher’s 24 hour mandatory layover.
It is impossible to predict the exact day or time that the first musher will cross the finish line in Nome. However, we expect it to be between 9 and 12 days, arriving the second Tuesday or Wednesday after the race restart. Doug Swingley, 1995 Champion, completed the course in 9 days, 2 hours, 42 minutes and 19 seconds to become the first musher from outside of the state of Alaska to ever win the Iditarod. Since that time, records have been broken and the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race® has continued to celebrate the importance of the dogs of the Iditarod.