By Associated Press - Monday, March 9, 2020

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A familiar face is leading the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in its first full day of competition.

Defending champion Pete Kaiser of Bethel arrived in the Rainy Pass checkpoint at 11:35 a.m. Monday.

He held a 12-minute lead over second place musher Travis Beals of Seward.

Fairbanks musher Lance Mackey, one of the Iditarod’s four-time winners, was in third place, arriving in Rainy Pass only two minutes after Beals.

The leaders arrived in Rainy Pass with 14 dogs in harness. All three mushers covered the 30 miles from the Finger Lake checkpoint to Rainy Pass in about three and a half hours.

Rounding out the top five were Richie Diehl in fourth and rookie Martin Massicotte of Canada in fifth place. Both were still en route to Rainy Pass.

Rainy Pass is 153 miles (246.23 kilometers) miles into the nearly 1,000-mile (1609.34-kilometer) race across Alaska.

The Iditarod started for 57 mushers Sunday afternoon in Willow. The winner is expected in Nome sometime next week.

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