The race is on as the frontrunners cross the frozen Norton Sound on the Bering Sea Coast. With less than 200 miles to Nome, 2004 Iditarod champion, Mitch Seavey, is going for his second win as he continues to lead the pack less than two miles outside the Koyuk checkpoint. Four-time champion Jeff King has maneuvered himself into second just a few miles behind Seavey, with Aaron Burmeister, Aliy Zirkle, and Ray Redington Jr. five miles behind him. Norwegian rookie Joar Leifseth Ulsom, running an impressive race, trails fifteen miles behind Seavey. Jake Berkowitz, Dallas Seavey, and Sonny Lindner have all left Shaktoolik in the past two hours. DeeDee Jonrowe reached the Shaktoolik checkpoint at 4:01am.
Mitch Seavey left Shaktoolik at 1:15am (AKST), followed by Burmeister and King less than an hour later. Zirkle, Redington, and Ulsom departed about an hour after that. Only three minutes separated Burmeister and King. King made his move and passed Burmeister at 2:50am, about 6 miles outside of Shaktoolik.
Seavey must be feeling the heat. He has been holding onto a slim lead since before Unalakleet. Jeff King has gained considerable ground on Seavey since arriving in Unalakleet more than three hours behind him. His early rests seem to have left him and his team a lot in the tank. His dogs looked energetic coming into Shaktoolik, although he did drop two dogs there and is now down to a team of 11.
King just has to remember not to make the same mistake he made in 2008, when he fell asleep at the Elim checkpoint and allowed Lance Mackey, whom King had been tailing for the second half of the race, to slip out unnoticed. The mistake cost him the race.