Iditarod 2013: Mitch Seavey takes comfortable lead nearing Nome

Two former Iditarod champions went back and forth Monday, but Mitch Seavey pulled away as he checked into the 22nd of 25 checkpoints.

Former Iditarod champion musher Mitch Seavey claimed the lead at the Iditarod on Monday as the race winded down less than 125 miles from the finish line in Nome, Alaska.

Seavey, the 2004 champion and the father of 2012 champion Dallas Seavey, leads four-time champion Jeff King and last year's runner-up, Aliy Zirkle. Seavey and King went back and forth Monday; King led early Monday and was first to leave the checkpoint at Koyuk. According to the Associated Press, King left the Koyuk checkpoint six minutes after his arrival, opting to camp out for a while eight miles after the checkpoint.

Seavey left Koyuk about three hours after King, opting for a more rested team. When Seavey checked in to the Elim checkpoint at 10:36 p.m. ET, King was about seven miles behind according to the Anchorage Daily News.

Dallas Seavey was in eighth place.

Running in fourth place is Ray Redington Jr., who is the grandson of Iditarod co-founder Joe Redington Sr. Aaron Burmeister is in fifth place. Burmeister is from Nome, where the race concludes, and would get a hero's welcome back home if he were to win the race, the Associated Press said.

If he were to win the Iditarod, one local official said, it could be pandemonium. The "place would come unglued," said Richard Beneville, the vice president of the Nome Chamber of Commerce.

From Elim, the mushers will trek 46 miles to White Mountain, 55 miles to Safety and 22 miles to the finish line at Nome.

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