Burmeister first Iditarod musher to reach Nikolai

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Aaron Burmeister has the early lead in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Burmeister was the first musher to check in to race officials in the village of Nikolai, which is 263 miles (423.26 kilometers) into the nearly 1,000-mile (1,609-kilometer) race.

He was followed into the checkpoint about 30 minutes later by Ryan Redington. Rounding out the top five of the race, which is still in its early stages, are Richie Diehl, Mitch Seavey and defending champion Dallas Seavey.

A large chunk of the 49-musher field is behind the top five, all making their way to Nikolai.

The race start Sunday in Willow. The winner is expected sometime early next week in Nome, on Alaska’s western coast.