The Latest: Defending champ takes over Iditarod lead
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Latest on the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race (all times local):
Defending champion Mitch Seavey has taken over the lead in Alaska’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
The three-time winner was the first to leave the village checkpoint of Nikolai (NIK-oh-leye) for the 48-mile run to the next checkpoint at McGrath. He was followed shortly after by Joar Leifseth Ulsom of Norway and earlier leader Ryan Redington of Wasilla.
Seavey departed Nikolai with 14 dogs at 12:49 p.m. in the 1,000-mile (1,600-kilometer) race.
The competitive portion of the race began with 67 teams on Sunday in Willow north of Anchorage. The ceremonial start was held in Anchorage Saturday with the teams taking a short sprint through town.
Two mushers have pulled out of the race. Among them is longtime Iditarod musher DeeDee Jonrowe, who has said this would be her last race.
Long-time Iditarod musher DeeDee Jonrowe has pulled out of the race.
Race officials say Jonrowe scratched late Tuesday morning at the Rainy Pass checkpoint due to personal health reasons and concern for taking care of her dog team.
The Rainy Pass checkpoint is 142 miles (228 kilometers) from the starting line at Willow. The 1,000-mile (1,600-kilometer) race began Sunday.
The 64-year-old Jonrowe entered her first Iditarod in 1980 and said her 36th race this year would be her last.
A crowd favorite, the Willow musher finished in the top 10 of the race 16 times. She placed second in 1993 and 1998.
Ryan Redington leads the race and was first into the village of Nikolai. (NIK-oh-leye) just after 8 a.m. He was followed about 20 minute later by Nicolas Petit and current champion Mitch Seavey.
A grandson of the “father of the Iditarod” is in the lead on the race’s third day.
Thirty-five-year-old Ryan Redington of Wasilla, grandson of Joe Redington, pulled into the village of Nikolai (NIK-oh-leye) just after 8 a.m. Tuesday in the 1,000-mile (1,600-kilometer) Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
Nikolai is the first Alaska Native village on the route from Willow to Nome.
Redington started the race with 16 dogs and reached the checkpoint with 13.
Sixty-seven teams began the race Sunday.
The trail winds over frozen lakes and rivers, through mountain passes and over trails once used for delivery of mail and supplies to mining communities.
Reigning champion Mitch Seavey was listed in second place. Seavey left the Rohn checkpoint just before 7:30 p.m. Monday for the 75-mile (120-kilometer) leg to Nikolai.