ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - 10:22 p.m. Update:
Nicolas Petit has moved back into first place after arriving in Takotna at 10:04 p.m. and leaving one minute later.
Nicolas Petit is the first musher in to McGrath in the 2019 Iditarod (KTUU)
Current race standings show three other mushers, 2018 Champion Joar Leifseth Ulsom, Jessie Royer and Peter Kaiser have all checked into Takotna.
Fifth place, Matt Hall left out of McGrath at 8:23 p.m.
5:25 p.m. Update:
2018 Iditarod champion Joar Leifseth Ulsom is now ahead on the trail, as he checked into McGrath at 4:45 p.m. and out at 4:49 p.m. The defending champion had 13 dogs in harness, and made the run from Nikolai to McGrath in just one minute less than Petit, the first to check in.
3:30 p.m. Update:
Nicolas Petit was the first musher to check in to McGrath, with an official check-in time of 3:17 p.m.
The contending musher still had 14 dogs in his team, and left the previous checkpoint of Nikolai almost an hour and a half before last year's champion, Joar Leifseth Ulsom.
Petit becomes the inaugural winner of the Alaska Air Transit Spirit of Iditarod Award -- for which he will receive a handmade pair of beaver mitts and handmade musher hat -- both made by McGrath residents.
1:30 p.m. Update:
Nic Petit is slowly approaching the town of McGrath, the next checkpoint on the Iditarod trail, and he's no longer heading there alone.
So far the race feels like a repeat of 2018, with Petit and previous champion Joar Leifseth Ulsom sparring over the lead position.
As of 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, the Iditarod GPS shows Petit in the lead, with Leifseth Ulsom behind him. After that, are Jessie Royer, Pete Kaiser, Aliy Zirkle, and Matt Hall.
9:20 a.m. Update:
At 9:04 a.m., Nic Petit checked into Nikolai. By 9:08 a.m., he was gone.
The musher, who came in second place last year, was leading up to the checkpoint before he was overtaken by Joar Leifseth Ulsom and others.
Now, he heads to the McGrath checkpoint, leaving six mushers still resting at the Nikolai checkpoint.
8:30 a.m. Update:
Three mushers have now reached the Nikolai checkpoint, including Pete Kaiser and Jessie Royer, joining Joar Leifseth Ulsom who first arrived there earlier Tuesday morning.
According to Iditarod GPS data, Aliy Zirkle, Matt Hall, Nic Petit, and Ryan Redington are the closest to Nikolai, but are still mushing on the trail.
As the sun rises on day 3 of the Iditarod sled dog race, 2018's champion, Joar Leifseth Ulsom was the first to reach the next checkpoint, the tiny community of Nikolai.
According to the Iditarod website, Leifseth Ulsom reached Nikolai at 6:36 a.m. on March 5. So far he's the only one to reach the checkpoint.
Still on the trail headed in to Nikolai are Pete Kaiser, Jessie Royer, Aliy Zirkle, and Matt Hall. Close behind them, according to Iditarod GPS data, is Ryan Redington and Nic Petit, who led Day 2.
The next stop after Nikolai will be McGrath.
This is a developing story and will be updated.