Aaron Burmeister and his team of dogs leave the Iditarod starting area in Willow, Alaska, on Sunday, March 7.
Marc Lester/Anchorage Daily News via AP

In pictures: The 2021 Iditarod

Updated 1830 GMT (0230 HKT) March 12, 2021

Aaron Burmeister and his team of dogs leave the Iditarod starting area in Willow, Alaska, on Sunday, March 7.
Marc Lester/Anchorage Daily News via AP

The Iditarod, Alaska's legendary long-distance sled dog race, began Sunday, March 7 — albeit with modifications.

The route, normally almost 1,000 miles, is about 100 miles shorter this year to avoid most communities during the pandemic. All participants, including staff and volunteers, will take Covid-19 tests and operate within a bubble.

The race is named after the Iditarod Trail, an old mail and supply route traveled by dog sleds. It has been an annual event since 1973, attracting spectators and competitors from around the world.