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Iditarod Mushers Reach Cripple

Mitch Seavey Poised to Take Lead

March 08, 2012|By Chris Klint | Channel 2 News

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Raceis halfway over, with a few mushers delaying their mandatory 24-hour layovers -- and abandoning most hope of catching up with the leaders -- in an all-out drive for the trail’s midpoint.

Race standings updated at 2:33 p.m. Thursday say musher Jim Lanier was the first to reach Cripple at 1:55 p.m., darting out of Ophir at 11:25 p.m. Wednesday. The run gives Lanier GCI’s Dorothy G. Page Halfway Award, as well as a $3,000 prize, for being first to reach the village halfway along the race’s 975-mile course.

GPS tracking also showed 2004 champion Mitch Seavey -- who has taken his 24-hour layover and is poised to assume the race lead -- in Cripple where race standings listed him in second, the first of some 32 mushers en route from Ophir to Cripple Thursday afternoon to reach the checkpoint after Lanier.

Trent Herbst, who also delayed his layover, was approaching Cripple on GPS and listed in third place despite a 12:35 a.m. departure from Ophir -- more than three hours ahead of Seavey, who overcame a 3:52 a.m. departure time to overtake Herbst.

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Aliy Zirkle, the 2000 Yukon Quest champion who has been leading the race for the last few days, slipped to fourth place Thursday while Dallas Seavey -- Mitch’s son -- rounded out the race’s top five.

This year’s Iditarod saw its first scratched team Wednesday night, as Silvia Furtwangler called it quits at 9:17 p.m. in Nikolai due to health concerns. Furtwangler was joined Thursday by Ryan Redington, who scratched in Takotna at 9:30 a.m. Thursday citing personal reasons; his brother, Ray Redington Jr., remains in the race.

Visit KTUU.com’s special Iditarod section and watch the Channel 2 newscasts for more coverage from the trail, with social-media updates from KTUUSports on Twitter and Channel 2 Sports on Facebook.

Also, if you’re out on the trail, you can send us your pictures by visiting our site.

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