Martin Buser’s seemingly insurmountable 4-hour lead from last night has evaporated, as Aliy Zirkle reached the Kaltag checkpoint at 5:52pm (AKST) and left just 20 minutes later to take first place from Buser as he continued an extended rest at the checkpoint. She is currently about 15 miles beyond Kaltag.
Martin Buser was first into Kaltag at 2:24pm, but after a more than 6-hour rest following a grueling 60-mile push from Eagle Island in a rain storm, a large group of mushers caught up to him, including Zirkle, Mitch Seavey, Aaron Burmeister, Jake Berkowitz, Jessie Royer, Joar Leifseth Ulsom, Sonny Lindner, Ray Redington Jr., Lance Mackey, Jeff King, and DeeDee Jonrowe.
Aaron Burmeister, who reached Kaltag at 4:07pm, left the checkpoint after a four hour rest to give chase to Zirkle and was soon followed by Buser, Mitch Zeavey, Jake Berkowitz, and Joar Leifseth Ulsom. The other mushers mentioned above are still resting at Kaltag.
The race is now on for the Bering Sea Coast checkpoint of Unalakleet.