Tuesday (11:30 p.m.) Update
Mitch Seavey has won the 2013 Iditarod.
Seavey, of Sterling, crossed the finish line in Nome at 10:39 p.m. Tuesday night with 10 dogs.
Aliy Zirkle, of Two Rivers, was second, crossing beneath the Burled Arch at 11:03 p.m., also with 10 dogs.
Seavey, 53, became the oldest musher to win the Iditarod one year after his son, Dallas became the youngest race winner. Zirkle was also runner-up in 2012.
It's Mitch Seavey's second Iditarod title. He also won in 2004. His official winning time was 9 days, 7 hours, 39 minutes and 56 seconds.
The Seaveys are a multi-generational mushing family. Mitch's dad (and Dallas' grandfather) Dan is a five-time finisher who ran the innaugural Iditarod in 1973.
Seavey left the final checkpoint of Safety 25 minutes ahead of Zirkle, and the duo completed the final run to Nome in near-identical times, with Seavey taking 3 hours, 2 minutes and Zirkle making it in 3:01.
As of 11:30 p.m. Tuesday night, 11 more mushers were on the trail from White Mountain (77 miles to the finish) and two had made it past Safety, which is about 20 miles from the finish. Jeff King left Safety in third place at 9:36 p.m. and Dallas Seavey left at 10:38 p.m.
Chugiak musher Jim Lanier was last reported out of the Koyuk checkpoint in 31st place. He left Koyuk at 9:55 p.m. Tuesday night with 11 dogs. Koyuk is approximately 171 miles from the finish line.
Check www.iditarod.com for up-to-date race updates.
Tuesday (8:20 p.m.) Update:
Sterling's Mitch Seavey put himself in position to win his second Iditarod by beating Two Rivers' Aliy Zirkle by 11 minutes on the 50-mile run from White Mountain to Safety Tuesday. Seavey left the final checkpoint before Nome at 7:37 p.m. Zirkle passed through the checkpoint at 8:02 p.m., meaning Seavey has increased his lead to 25 minutes.
Seavey, the 2004 champion, had an 13-minute lead leaving White Mountain. According to the Iditarod, it's just 22 miles from Safety to Nome. The first musher is expected to cross under the Burled Arch sometime around midnight.
Tuesday (1:45 p.m.) Update:
Mitch Seavey left White Mountain at 1:11 p.m., as scheduled. Aliy Zirkle gave chase at 1:24 p.m. after both mushers completed mandatory eight-hour layovers. Both mushers left with 10 dogs.
Jeff King was scheduled to give chase at 2:52 p.m.
Tuesday (Noon) update:
Aliy Zirkle and Mitch Seavey looked to be heading for an epic showdown on the final 77 miles of the Iditarod Tuesday, March 12.
Sterling's Seavey arrived in White Mountain at 5:11 a.m. this morning with 10 dogs, 13 minutes in front of Zirkle, who also had 10 dogs. Every musher must take a mandatory eight-hour layover in White Mountain, meaning Seavey can leave at 1:11 p.m. and Zirkle is eligible to hit the trail at 1:24 p.m.
Zirkle, of Two Rivers, covered the trail from the Elim checkpoint in six hours, 59 minutes — shaving 35 minutes off Seavey's lead.
Also arriving in White Mountain Tuesday morning were Jeff King at 6:52 a.m., Dallas Seavey (8:09 a.m.), Ray Redington Jr. (8:11 a.m.), Joar Leifseth Ulsom (9:17 a.m.), Nicolas Petit (9:21 a.m.), Jake Berkowitz (9:25 a.m.), Aaron Burmeister (9:41 a.m.), Sonny Lindner (10:21 a.m.) and DeeDee Jonrowe (10:37 a.m.). Petit had the quickest run from Elim, covering the 46 miles in 6:29.
As for Chugiak's Jim Lanier, the veteran musher left Shaktoolik (which is 222 miles from Nome) in 34th place at 10:20 a.m. Tuesday behind a team of 11 dogs.
Monday night (11:49 p.m.) update:
Sterling's Mitch Seavey and Two Rivers' Aliy Zirkle were the first two Iditarod mushers out of Elim Monday, March 11, with Seavey hitting the trail at 9:37 p.m., 48 minutes ahead of Zirkle. Both mushers had 10 dogs when they left the checkpoint, which is 123 miles from the Nome finish line of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
Seavey, the 2004 champion, seemed to have the edge over Zirkle, last year's runner-up, after resting his team for three hours in the checkpoint. Zirkle was only able to rest her dogs for an hour and 43 minutes.
Resting in Elim behind Zirkle Monday night was Jeff King, who arrived in Elim at 8:32 p.m., and Ray Redington Jr., who arrived at 8:45 p.m. King, a four-time champion, took 12 hours, 10 minutes between Koyuk — almost five hours more than Seavey and Zirkle. That could indicate King rested his dogs along the trail, charging them up for a final sprint to the finish. Or it could indicate his team is out of gas.
Either way, the race is a close one.
The top eight mushers arrived in Elim within four and a half hours of each other, including Aaron Burmeister, who got there at 9:42 p.m., Jake Berkowitz (10:39 p.m.), Dallas Seavey (10:52 p.m.) and Joar Leifseth Ulsom (11:03 p.m.).
From Elim it's 45 miles to the next checkpoint in White Mountain, where all mushers must take an eight-hour layover before covering the final 77 miles of trail to Nome.
MONDAY MORNING UPDATE: Four-time Iditarod champion Jeff King raced out of Koyuk at 8:22 a.m. Monday, March 11 to take the lead with less than 200 miles to go in the 2013 Iditarod.
King, of Denali Park, left Koyuk with a team of 11 dogs. He leapfrogged 2004 champion Mitch Seavey, of Sterling, after Seavey was the first to arrive in Koyuk at 7:42 a.m. King lingered just six minutes in koyuk before returning to the trail after making the run from Shaktoolik in 6:04. Seavey made the trip in 6:27.
Also in Koyuk as of Monday morning was Aliy Zirkle, who arrived there at 9:28 a.m. after a six hour, 12 minute run. She was followed into Koyuk one minute later by Ray Redington Jr. Nine minutes after Redington arrived, Nome's Aaron Burmeister showed up in Koyuk, putting the top five mushers into the checkpoint within two hours of each other.
It's 171 miles from Koyuk to Nome and 48 miles to the next checkpoint in Elim.
Further back in the pack, Chugiak's Jim Lanier was last shown as resting in Kaltag in 39th place. Lanier arrived in Kaltag at 11:45 p.m. Sunday night, according to race statistics available at www.iditarod.com.