ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Last year’s runner-up in Alaska’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race has grabbed the lead in the 1,000-mile trek.
Aliy Zirkle was the first to leave the Yukon River village of Anvik, departing at 7:21 a.m. Friday.
Four-time Iditarod champion Martin Buser was first into the checkpoint at 2:17 a.m. Friday.
Buser decided to take a mandatory eight-hour break there, while Zirkle blew out of the village one minute after arriving. She has not taken the eight-hour layover that’s required at any checkpoint on the frozen Yukon River.
Anvik is the first checkpoint on the river, which is the trail for the next 238 miles of the race.
Mushers also are required to take another eight-hour rest at the checkpoint 77 miles from the finish line in Nome.