ent on a fourth straight victory in the sled dog race across Alaska, Susan Butcher regained the lead today, leaving the frozen wasteland of Shaktoolik and heading across the sea ice under bright northern lights.
The 58-mile run across the ice of Norton Bay is one of the most treacherous stretches of the entire 1,168-mile Anchorage-to-Nome Iditarod Sled Dog Race, but the ice appeared solid and the weather was clear and cold--perfect for racing sled dogs.
Joe Runyan led Butcher into Shaktoolik by four minutes, but she slipped out ahead of him Monday night, deciding to be the first onto the frozen bay of the Bering Sea as the race entered the final two days.
Runyan decided to rest longer in Shaktoolik, four hours. Butcher rested two hours. Time spent resting could figure in determining the winner.
The winner should reach Nome by Wednesday evening, the 12th day of the race.
The winner gets $50,000 of the $250,000 purse shared among the top 20.