Aliy Zirkle maintains Iditarod lead

Wednesday , March 07, 2012 - 2:20 PM

The Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Musher Aliy Zirkle is maintaining her lead in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

The 41-year-old veteran Iditarod musher arrived at the checkpoint in the village of Takotna late Tuesday night, followed about a half-hour later by defending champion John Baker.

Mitch Seavey, the 2004 champion, arrived on Baker's heels.

Zirkle finished 11th last year. She comes from Two Rivers, Alaska, considered the state's mushing mecca for the number of competitive mushers, including five-time Iditarod champion Rick Swenson, who lives in the small community near Fairbanks.

Many mushers choose to spend extra time in the Takotna checkpoint, which is 646 miles from the finish line in Nome. It is one of the most comfortable and hospitable checkpoints in the race.

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