UNDATED (CNN) -- The 41st Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race kicked off in Alaska Sunday. Here are some interesting facts about the famous, grueling race.
You might've known that the Iditarod is called the "Last Great Race on Earth." You probably didn't know that most competitors cover about 110 miles a day! It's now much if you're driving.
But if you're driving a team of sled dogs across the Alaskan wilderness in frigid temperatures, it's "mush" more intimidating.
It starts in Anchorage and ends in the remote town of Nome, Alaska. Recalling a time around the year 1900 when dogsleds were used to get supplies and mail there. Planes have been doing it since the 1920s.
Except in 1925, when there was an outbreak of the disease diphtheria and pilots couldn't get through. Then, in temperatures far below zero, sled dogs were called on once again to get medication where it was needed.
The story became so famous that a statue of a lead dog, Balto, was put up in New York. It's still there today.
The modern Iditarod route changes from year to year. It crosses miles of ice and two mountain ranges. And it requires teams to rest, provides dog food at race checkpoints, and has veterinarians and advisers to ensure that mushers and their dogs are kept safe along a trail that used to be anything but.