Strategies continued to work themselves out Tuesday at the 2013 Iditarod, as Aaron Burmeister reached McGrath first. He didn't stay long, exiting the checkpoint only moments later on his way to Takotna.
Meanwhile Scott Buser and Matt Failor fell back in the pack after taking their 24-hour breaks. The pair were the first two to reach the Rohn checkpoint, with Buser sprinting 177 miles there in 20 hours and Failor arriving a bit later. Each musher has to take one mandatory 24-hour stop during the race. Although Buser's team of 16 dogs undoubtedly needed some rest after the long haul, resting so early in the competition could turn out to backfire later.
David Sawatzky was the only other musher to complete a 24-hour layover, doing so in Rainy Pass. However, unlike former-champion Buser, Sawatzky was not expected to factor into the top 10 in race standings.
Burmeister, who still has 15 dogs and was making a 7.91 mph pace, is expected to take his 24-hour stop when he reaches Takotna, 18 miles down the trail, according to Joe Runyon, who is writing about the race for Iditarod.com.
Quite a few of the usual suspects are not too far behind. Last year's runner-up, Aliy Zirkle, is again running the race in second place. She has left Nikolai on her way to McGrath. Mitch Seavey followed her out of the checkpoint 39 minutes later, and Lance Mackey trailed him by just 10 minutes. Mackey made a fast 8.75 mph pace. Defending champion Dallas Seavey is in 13th, having left more than two hours behind Zirkle.
Cindy Abbott and Newton Marshall, two mushers who are sentimental favorites for their stories, have both reached Rohn. Abbott is blind in one eye and is trying to become the first woman to finish the Iditarod and scale to the summit of Mt. Everest. Marshall is a musher originally from Jamaica who later moved to Alaska.
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