Woman Who Finished 2nd in 2012 Takes Iditarod Lead
An Alaska woman who finished second in last year’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race grabbed the lead in the 1,000-mile (1,610-kilometer) race.
Aliy Zirkle of Two Rivers was the first musher out of the checkpoint at Kaltag, which is about 346 miles (557 kilometers) from the finish. The front-runners are expected to reach the finish line in the old gold rush town of Nome on Alaska’s western coast early next week.
Teams have been traveling in deep snow followed by deep overflows in a trail on the Yukon River deteriorated by above-freezing temperatures. Some stretches also were marked by glare ice.
Zirkle, 43, took the lead Saturday from four-time champion Martin Buser, who was the first out of the previous checkpoint at Eagle Island early Saturday. The 54-year-old veteran from Big Lake, Alaska, dropped two dogs at Eagle Island.
Buser is hoping to be only the second musher to ever claim a fifth title in the race’s 40-year-history. He was the first to reach Kaltag, arriving with 11 dogs at 2:24 p.m. Saturday.