NOME, Alaska – Another former champion leapfrogged to the lead Monday in the 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
Four-time winner Jeff King was first to cross the checkpoint in Koyuk at 8:17 a.m. The village is about 170 miles from the Iditarod’s finish line in Nome, the frontier town on Alaska’s wind-pummeled coast.
Front-runners began traveling north along the frozen Bering Sea Coast on Sunday. From the checkpoint in Koyuk, they now head west along the coastline to reach Nome.
King left Koyuk just six minutes after arriving, then camped out for a while 8 miles from the checkpoint. His team began moving again late morning, according to positioning trackers attached to all the mushers’ sleds.
Mitch Seavey, the 2004 winner and father of defending champion Dallas Seavey, fed his team as King headed out.
The elder Seavey had been leading since Sunday and beat King to Koyuk by 34 minutes. The 53-year-old musher rested his team then left 3 hours, 2 minutes after King.
Third into Koyuk was last year’s runner-up, Aliy Zirkle, who clocked in at 9:28 a.m. Monday. She was followed one minute later by Ray Redington Jr., and she beat him out of the checkpoint by five minutes after a rest of nearly four hours.
Fourth into the checkpoint was Aaron Burmeister, who left nine minutes after Redington.
Dallas Seavey was eighth into Koyuk.