Speed Reads

and they're off

Dogs dash through the snow as the Iditarod officially begins

Seventy-one mushers and their dog teams set out Monday on the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, a nearly 1,000-mile journey across the Alaskan tundra. The race was initially slated to start Sunday, the day after the race's ceremonial opening in Anchorage, but it was delayed due to a lack of snow on part of the course amid Alaska's recent record-high temperatures.

Last-minute changes to the course required mushers and their dogs to travel more than 300 miles north to the race's new starting point. Thousands of spectators — including 2,600 schoolchildren — lined up to cheer on mushers, who take off every two minutes in the race's staggered start.

The current record-holder finished the race in 8 days, 11 hours, and 20 minutes.

For those who couldn't make the journey out to the middle of the Alaskan wilderness, here are some photos. A live feed of the race — specifically, Huskies wearing booties — is available to watch here. Becca Stanek