This morning, Aliy Zirkle trailed just 13 minutes behind the leader, Mitch Seavey, coming into the White Mountain checkpoint. Seavey reached the checkpoint at 5:11am (AKST). Jeff King, who held the lead for a short time yesterday outside of Koyuk, arrived at White Mountain at 6:52am. Ray Redington Jr. and Dallas Seavey are currently battling for fourth place less than 5 miles from White Mountain. They are followed by Joar Leifseth Ulsom, Nicolas Petit, Aaron Burmeister, Jake Berkowitz, Sonny Lindner, and DeeDee Jonrowe, all of whom are within 25 miles of the checkpoint.
After holding the lead since before Unalakleet, Mitch Seavey briefly lost it to King in Koyuk. Reaching Koyuk at 7:42am yesterday, Seavey stopped to rest for 3-1/2 hours. Jeff King arrived in Koyuk at 8:16am, and after a 6-minute stop continued on, taking the lead for the first time in the race. King stopped to rest about 8 miles outside the Koyuk checkpoint, presumably, to keep an eye on other mushers approaching. He began moving again just after 11:00am, minutes before Mitch Seavey left Koyuk. However, King stopped for several hours before Elim, allowing Seavey to pass him and regain the lead. Seavey was first to reach the Elim checkpoint at 6:36pm. As Ray Redington Jr., Aliy Zirkle, and Aaron Burmeister approached, King ended his rest. King and Zirkle battled for second going into Elim, with King reaching the checkpoint at 8:32pm and Zirkle ten minutes behind him. Redington and Burmeister followed soon after.
Seavey left Elim last night at 9:37pm, followed by Zirkle at 10:25 and King at 11:54. Zirkle managed to stay within 5 miles of Seavey the entire way to White Mountain.
All of the mushers must take a mandatory 8-hour rest at White Mountain. Mitch Seavey will leave the checkpoint just 13 minutes ahead of Zirkle, a very slim lead. With less than 80 miles to Nome, it will be a dash to the Burled Arch. Seavey will have a battle on his hands as Zirkle has gained 1-1/2 hours on him since Koyuk. She will not want to repeat another second place finish behind a Seavey.