I won’t go into all of the Iditarod rules, as they make up a 15-page document, but if you’re curious, you can download a PDF of the complete rules here:
The one rule I’ll note regards the supplies and equipment that must be carried by mushers in their sleds at all times:
- Proper cold weather sleeping bag weighing a minimum of 5 lbs.
- Ax, head to weigh a minimum of 1-3/4 lbs., handle to be at least 22” long.
- One operational pair of snowshoes with bindings, each snowshoe to be at least 252 square inches in size.
- Any promotional material provided by the ITC.
- Eight booties for each dog in the sled or in use.
- One operational cooker and pot capable of boiling at least three (3) gallons of water at one time.
- Veterinarian notebook, to be presented to the veterinarian at each checkpoint.
- An adequate amount of fuel to bring three (3) gallons of water to a boil.
- Cable gang line or cable tie out capable of securing dog team.
- Functional non chafing harness for each dog in team.
The “promotional material” refers to envelopes stamped in Anchorage and later postmarked in Nome, then sold to fans to raise funds for the race. This tradition goes back to the first Iditarod in 1973 and commemorates the Iditarod Trail as, among other things, a mail route.
Also, something relevant to Saturday’s ceremonial start: tonight, a banquet was held in Anchorage where mushers drew their starting positions for the race. Their position numbers will be listed on their bibs, which they must wear at the ceremonial start, the restart, from the White Mountain checkpoint to the Safety checkpoint, and from the Safety checkpoint to the Nome finish line.
At the ceremonial start and the restart, mushers and their dog teams will leave in two-minute intervals according to their position/bib number. The time differential is adjusted during each musher’s mandatory 24-hour layover.