The route, usually almost 1,000 miles, has been modified to avoid most communities and will be roughly 100 miles shorter than usual.
A reduced number of 47 mushers include 13 women and 12 rookies. They will line up in Willow, about 75 miles outside of Anchorage, before hitting a new out-and-back trail. The race usually ends in Nome.
Joar Leifseth Ulsom, the 2018 champion, says pandemic protocols won't make much difference once the race begins.
"It's not like we are very social people," Ulsom, one of this year's favorites, told Reuters. "We spend most of our time out with the dogs."