Iditarod Dog Sled Race: Dates, Start Time and Event Info

Michael DixonAnalyst IIIFebruary 28, 2012

15 Mar 1999: John Baker mushes his dogs during the Iditarod Trail Race in Alaska. Mandatory Credit: Ezra O. Shaw  /Allsport
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

One of the great sporting traditions will get underway with the 40th running of the Iditarod Dog Sled Race, a contest which has been held continuously since 1973.

Mushers from around the world will lead a team of 12 to 16 dogs that will start in Anchorage, Alaska, working their way through 23 checkpoints before reaching the finish line in Nome, Alaska. The top mushers will finish between 7 and 10 days, while the last teams will take closer to two weeks.

Alaskans have dominated the event recently with Lance Mackey winning from 2007-2010 and John Baker taking the crown last year. 

Date: Saturday, March 3 - Unknown, beginning at 2 p.m. EST. 

TV Schedule:

    Channel  Time (EST)
Saturday, March 3    Race Start    GCI Channel 1    1:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 4 Restart GCI Channel 1 5:30 p.m.
Unknown Finish GCI Channel 1 TBD

Check GCI as the race progresses to learn more about the race's finish. 


Past Champions in the field: 

Champion    Year(s) won
John Baker  2011
Lance Mackey  2007-2010
Jeff King 1993, 1996, 1998, 2006
Mitch Seavey 2004
Martin Buser 1992, 1994, 1997, 2002
Rick Swenson 1977, 1979, 1981-1982, 1991

A full list of participants can be found at



What they're saying

The greatest drawback to the Iditarod has been that some of the dogs that start the race don't make it to the finish line. Fortunately, that didn't happen in 2010 or 2011, something that Jill Burke of the Alaska Dispatch believes will be closer to the norm, even if some risks will always be there. 

The stars aligned in 2010 and 2011, delivering great weather, decent trails, and no run-ins with moose. Years of medical research on sled dogs was also starting to pay off, leading veterinarians and mushers toward a potent change in their regimen: heartburn medicine. Just like NFL superstar quarterback Brett Favre, race dogs are popping a small but powerful pill to keep their intestines as finely tuned as the rest of their bodies. It's thought the change has and will continue to save lives.


Prediction: Lance Mackey

Not only is he a four-time champion, but Mackey has won twice on the Northern route that will be used this year. He had a poor outing last year and will be more focused on getting back to the top. A win would tie Mackey with Rick Swenson for most wins ever in the event.