NIKOLAI, Alaska (AP) – Veteran musher Aaron Burmeister has taken the lead in the 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
Burmeister was the first in and out of the Nikolai checkpoint, departing early Tuesday afternoon. Nikolai is more than 660 miles from the finish line in Nome on Alaska’s western coast.
Running second is last year’s Iditarod runner-up, Aliy Zirkle, who left Nikolai at 1:13 p.m. Tuesday.
Four-time champion Martin Buser took his mandatory 24-hour rest at an earlier checkpoint in Rohn after a blistering fast 170-mile run that had put him hours ahead of the other teams. He departed from Rohn shortly after noon Tuesday.
Mushers are required to take one 24-hour break and two eight-hour breaks in the race. Two of 66 teams have scratched.
The first to reach Nome will get a new truck and a cash prize of $50,400. The rest of the $600,000 purse will be split between the next 29 mushers to cross the finish line.
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