ANCHORAGE — Former champion Mitch Seavey reached the Yukon River city of Galena and leads the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race – for now.
The Seward, Alaska, musher is a two-time champion and the father of current champ Dallas Seavey.
Mitch Seavey left Ruby at 1 a.m. Thursday. He followed the Yukon River to reach Galena at 5:34 a.m., traveling at just over 9 mph behind 16 dogs.
Joar Lefseth Ulsom of Norway was the second musher into Galena. He left Ruby at 12:32 a.m. and reached Galena nearly an hour after Seavey with 14 dogs.
Seavey didn't stay long in Galena, however. He left after just 2 hours and 43 minutes for the 82-mile run to Huslia, one of the new checkpoints on this year's rerouted race. Galena is a regular checkpoint on the Iditarod, but the race's move to Fairbanks this year has brought the trail to Huslia and several other Interior Alaska communities that otherwise would not be a part of the race.
Seavey was followed out of Galena by five other mushes through 3:26 p.m.: Jessie Royer, Michelle Phillips, Ralph Johannessen, John Baker and Petit.
Standings can be deceiving at this point in the race. Seavey, for example, was one of just three mushers in the top 10 who had not taken a required eight-hour break. Most of the mushers in the race had already completed that mandatory break, and a some were also declaring their mandatory 24-hour break.
Seventy mushers remain on the trail. The final musher, rookie Roger Lee, left Tanana at 6:21 a.m. Thursday.
The nearly 1,000-mile race began Monday in Fairbanks.