ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - <8:00 p.m.>
Race favorites Nic Petit and Mitch Seavey have left the town of Iditarod on the way to Shageluk with 14 dogs and 13 dogs respectively.
Petit rested in the town of Iditarod for four and a half hours and has the fastest time from Ophir by nearly an hour. Seavey rested in Iditarod for half-an-hour longer and took nearly 50 minutes longer to get from Ophir to Iditarod. Both mushers have completed their 24-hour layovers.
Iditarod champion Jeff King is currently taking his 24-hour layover in the ghost town. A large chasing pack of mushers from Ophir are closing in on Iditarod
Nicolas Petit bib 46 3/8 14:28/19:02
Mitch Seavey bib 13 3/8 15:17/19:46
Joar Leifseth Ulsom bib 33 3/8 20:28
Lars Monsen bib 61 3/8 0:5:16
Jeff King bib 40 3/8 16:08
Larry Daugherty bib 14 3/8 17:34
Linwood Fiedler bib 8 3/8 18:59
Ray Redington Jr. bib 17 3/8 19:00
Jessie Royer bib 36 3/8 19:28
Richie Diehl bib 29 3/8 19:32
It's the fourth day on the 2018 Iditarod trail, and mushers leaving the Ophir checkpoint are racing hard to reach the next checkpoint - Iditarod, the abandoned town from which the race itself takes its name.
Norway's Joar Leifseth Ulsom reached the checkpoint first, which is the official halfway point of the entire race. When Ulsom crossed the checkpoint line, he was awarded $3,000 worth of gold nuggets, a prize given to those who reach Iditarod first as part of the Dorothy G. Page Halfway Award. Fellow Norwegian musher Lars Monsen reached Iditarod second, just after 5 a.m. Thursday morning.
Now, multiple mushers are racing out of the Ophir checkpoint to catch up. According to the GPS tracking the mushers' locations, the closest musher to the checkpoint is French musher Nicolas Petit, racing under bib 46.
Close behind Petit are mushers Mitch Seavey, Ray Redington Jr., and Aaron Burmeister. Immediately behind them is a large pack of mushers all grouped very close together. As for who will reach Iditarod second, and who will take the lead once they do, is still very much up in the air, making the race a competitive one at this point.
This story will be updated when the first 5 mushers have reached Iditarod.