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Iditarod Front Runners Finish Mandatory 24-Hr Rests And Race To Halfway Point

Mar 7, 2019

The Iditarod checkpoint on the Iditarod River on March 7, 2019.
Credit Ben Matheson

Another musher may show up in Iditarod soon. Joar Leifseth Ulsom and Nicholas Petit are sprinting toward the checkpoint where Aliy Zirkle is taking her mandatory 24-hour break. The two have opened up more than a 25-mile lead over the parade of other mushers who have come off their 24's and are now following them to the ghost town that marks the halfway point to Nome.

Leifseth Ulsom and Petit passed Martin Buser, who is still working his way to the checkpoint. He, like Zirkle, needs to complete his 24-hour rest.

More than half the teams in the race have completed that long rest and are out on the trail, strung between Iditarod and McGrath. Within the pack, just 20 miles behind Petit and Leifseth Ulsom, is a group of experienced mushers that includes Bethel‘s Pete Kaiser and Aniak’s Richie Diehl.

Farther back are Bethel’s three rookies. Jessica Klejka left McGrath this morning; Niklas Wikstrand and Victoria Hardwick are still in the town.