In Pictures: Sled dogs begin epic trek across Alaska in gruelling challenge
This year’s race comes following a doping scandal and increasingly vocal opposition from animal rights activists.
The gruelling Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race is under way in a challenge which is expected to last nine days for the winner.
Mushers from all over the world are in Alaska for the race in inhospitable conditions which have angered animal rights activists and following a year when doping allegations overshadowed the event.
The race takes dogs and mushers from Lake Willow, north of Anchorage, nearly 1,000 miles to the Bering Coast former gold rush town of Nome.