ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Update 10:15 p.m.
Six mushers have checked out of Iditarod and are on the trail to Shageluk.
Nicolas Petit is the first musher in to McGrath in the 2019 Iditarod (KTUU)
Nicolas Petit remains in the lead with defending champion, Joar Leifseth Ulsom directly behind him. According to the Iditarod's online GPS tracker Petit and Ulsom have about six miles distance between their teams.
Third place Jessie Royer, checked out of Iditarod at 8:04 p.m.
Peter Kaiser and Mitch Seavey, in fourth and fifth places both left for the next checkpoint within four minutes of each other, shortly before 10 o'clock.
Update 12:45 p.m.
Nic Petit has passed through the traditional halfway point of the Iditarod race -- the checkpoint of Iditarod, and continued on the trail, having already taken his 24-hour layover.
The Iditarod leaderbaord shows Petit as checking into Iditarod at 12:13 and out just nine minutes later at 12:22.
Last year's runner-up still had all 14 dogs in his team.
According to the Iditarod GPS tracker, Joar Leifseth Ulsom, last year's champion, is hot on Petit's heels. Ulsom left the checkpoint of Ophir at 11:00 p.m. Wednesday, three hours before Petit's departure at 2:17 a.m. Thursday. He checked in to Iditarod at 12:37 p.m.
Aliy Zirkle led the field into Iditarod, winning the race's halfway award. She remains there this afternoon, having not yet completed her 24-hour layover.
POSTED 8:15 a.m.:
Musher Aliy Zirkle was the first to arrive at the Iditarod checkpoint, the race's official halfway marker, on Thursday morning.
Iditarod standings show she checked in to Iditarod just after 1:30 a.m. on March 7.
Zirkle was also the first to leave out of Ophir on Wednesday, but now several other mushers have since departed, and are now heading to Iditarod themselves.
In the lead on the trail in second place is Iditarod legend Martin Buser, who left out of Ophir at 6:23 p.m.
Behind him is 2018 race champion, Joar Leifseth Ulsom, Jessie Royer, and Nic Petit.
Though Zirkle is in the lead, followed by Buser, neither of the two mushers have taken their mandatory 24-hour layover.
Current race standings on the Iditarod website show Ulsom, Royer, Petit, Pete Kaiser, Richie Diehl, Ryan Redington, Mitch Seavey, Matthew Failor have completed their 24-hour layover.