- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 5, 2014

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

Officials say in a release that Burmeister was the first musher to reach the checkpoint in Cripple. He arrived just before 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.

For his efforts, he picks up $3,000 in placer gold nuggets for being the first musher to reach the halfway mark of the Iditarod.

Burmeister is attempting to become the first Nome native to win the race.

The nearly 1,000-mile race began Sunday with 69 teams. It will end in Nome some time next week.

As of Wednesday, 11 mushers have scratched and one was withdrawn during difficult conditions early in the race. That leaves 57 teams on the trail.