The 2021 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race begins March 7.
Three Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta mushers are competing in the race: 2019 Iditarod champion Pete Kaiser of Bethel, 2021 Kuskokwim 300 and Bogus Creek 150 winner Richie Diehl of Aniak, and 2019 Iditarod Red Lantern Victoria Hardwick of Bethel.
The ceremonial start in Anchorage has been cancelled. Instead, the race will begin Sunday, March 7 in Willow.
Forty-seven mushers are on the roster. All must test negative for the coronavirus before the race to compete and will be tested for the virus along the trail. Race officials are requiring face masks and social distancing within checkpoints.
The race is taking a new and shorter route this year to avoid communities during the pandemic. Instead of its usual 1,000 miles, the race will only span about 860 miles. For the first time in the race’s history, it will not end in Nome. It will begin and end in Willow, with a turnaround in the mining ghost town of Flat.