Osmar moves into Quest lead at halfway point

Posted: Sunday, February 18, 2001

DAWSON CITY, Yukon Territory (AP) -- Tim Osmar of Ninilchik took the lead at the halfway point in the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race.

Osmar edged past William Kleedehn of Carcross, arriving at Dawson City at 10:17 p.m. Alaska Time Thursday, just two minutes before Kleedehn.

By mid-morning Friday, 13 mushers had reached Dawson, where they would take a much needed rest. Race rules require a 36 hour layover at this point in the race.

For being the first to reach the halfway point, Osmar will take home the poke of gold donated by Dawson miners Joe and Wendy Fellers if he completes the 1,000-mile race from Whitehorse to Fairbanks.

While Osmar was the first musher to leave Dawson, Kleedehn will be the first to leave. That's because Osmar drew the No. 15 starting position and Kleedehn left the starting line 22nd.

Mushers left Whitehorse at two-minute intervals and their times are adjusted in Dawson to make up the difference. The last musher to leave the starting chute will rest in Dawson for 36 hours, while the first musher to leave the starting line must rest 37 hours and 2 minutes.

David Sawatzky of Healy arrived shortly after 11 p.m., Andrew Lesh of Fairbanks checked in at 12:39 p.m., Joran Freeman of Two Rivers arrived at 1:32 a.m. and John Schandelmeier of Paxson Lake checked in 10 minutes later.

Mushers will continue to reach Dawson Friday and Saturday before hitting the trail toward Eagle, the first Alaska checkpoint.

Of the 31 teams that started the race Sunday, 28 remain on the trail.

Rookie Dario Daniels of Homer became the latest musher to scratch, dropping out the the race Thursday at Pelly Crossing.

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