Jim Lanier and Trent Herbst were nearing Cripple about noon on Thursday and leading the field in this year’s Iditarod. Mitch Seavey was moving up rapidly in third place and gaining on Lanier and Herbst. Aliy Zirkle, who had led early on, was in fourth position. Chasing those four leaders were defending champion John Baker and Aaron Burmeister. Ray Redington, Jr., Paul Gebhardt and past champion Lance Mackey were running together and chasing the leaders.
Cripple marks the official halfway point in the race. The first team to reach Cripple wins a trophy and $3,000 in gold nuggets.
Iditarod winner Jeff King, Hugh Neff and Rick Swenson were running as a trio and trying to catch up with the leaders.
Neither Lanier nor Herbst has taken the obligatory 24-hour stop.
Mackey dropped two dogs in Ophir and was racing with 12 Thursday morning. Neff was racing with just 12 dogs too. Lanier and Gebhardt were racing with 13 dogs.
Brent Sass continued to lead the field of rookies and was out of Ophir this morning.