The Iditarod kicked off last weekend in Anchorage, Alaska, and as it does every year, it’s gotten sports enthusiasts and animal activists at odds. The Iditarod Sled Dog Race has been held annually since 1973 and covers 938 miles between Anchorage and Nome, Alaska. The race is meant to commemorate the 1925 serum run to Nome, in which 20 mushers and 150 dogs responded to a call for help when a diphtheria outbreak overtook the settlement.
Every March teams of 14 dogs, typically Siberian Huskies, and one musher each attempt to make the trip in the shortest time possible. In it’s first few years the winning teams took as long as 20 days to complete the trip, but since the 1970s the average winning time has been cut by more than half. The current record was set in 2017 at 8 days, 3 hours and 40 minutes.