FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Aliy Zirkle was holding fast to the lead Tuesday evening in the final stretch of the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race.
The Two Rivers musher was first at the Braeburn Lodge checkpoint, arriving at 5:06 p.m. Canadian musher Thomas Tetz followed Zirkle, arriving at Braeburn 47 minutes later.
The mushers and their teams had a mandatory eight-hour layover before they could begin the 75-mile sprint to the abbreviated finish line at Takhini Hot Springs.
Zirkle is bidding to become the first woman ever to win the Quest.
Other leaders trying to catch the front runners were Jack Berry of Homer, Frank Turner of Whitehorse and Peter Butteri from Tok. All left Carmacks -- an old gold mining community along the Yukon River -- after Zirkle and Tetz Tuesday morning.
Unusually warm temperatures have caused overflow and some open water on the Yukon River, so race officials ordered Monday that the race be shortened. It usually runs 1,000 miles, or from Fairbanks to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.
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