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Zirkle leads super tight Iditarod race in Alaska

8:06 PM, Mar 9, 2014   |    comments
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Aliy Zirkle of Two Rivers, Alaska, greets fans at the top of Cordova Street Hill during the ceremonial start for the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Saturday, March 1, 2014, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/The Anchorage Daily News, Erik Hill)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Aliy Zirkle is barely holding on to the lead in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, arriving at a checkpoint just one minute ahead of her closest rival on Alaska's wind-scoured western coast.

The 44-year-old musher arrived at the village of Koyuk with 11 dogs at 2:07 p.m. Sunday after a 50-mile run from the previous checkpoint at Shaktoolik.

Four-time champion Jeff King and his 12-dog team are close behind, arriving into the checkpoint at 2:08 p.m.

Zirkle has come in second place in the last two years in the nearly 1,000-mile race to Nome, which is 221 miles west of Shaktoolik. She is seeking to become only the third woman to win the race and the first woman to win since the late Susan Butcher in 1990.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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