Iditarod 2013: Aliy Zirkle takes lead from Martin Buser

Aaron Burmeister coming in to the checkpoint of Anvik - Sebastian Schnuelle/http://iditarod.com/

The lead in the 2013 Iditarod has been claimed by Aliy Zirkle, who zipped past Martin Buser as she made her way up the Yukon River.

Martin Buser was the first musher into the Anvik checkpoint, but Aliy Zirkle was the first to leave, claiming the lead in the 2013 Iditarod. Zirkle, last year's runner-up, stopped just one minute -- long enough to grab some snacks for her dogs -- before pulling out at 7:21 a.m. local time. Buser, who checked in five hours ahead of her, has opted to give his dogs more rest.

For being the first musher to reach the Yukon River, Martin Buser was awarded $3,500 -- all in singles:

Screen_shot_2013-03-08_at_12

Perhaps more importantly for Buser, though, was the breakfast he received as part of the celebration:

While he was enjoying his meal, Buser was getting passed by Aaron Burmeister, who checked into Anvik at 8:36 a.m. and left just four minutes later, with all 15 dogs.

The three leaders continue to deal with the unseasonably warm temperatures that have plagued mushers and dogs alike during this year's Iditarod. It's near 40 degrees in Anvik, with rain falling.

"Anything above zero is too warm," said Burmeister, who is wearing a raincoat. "They're movin' right through it.".

Zirkle and Burmeister, along with Buser, will still have to make the race's mandatory eight-hour layover somewhere along the Yukon River (something Mitch Seavey, in 11th place, opted to do already in Shageluk). While mushers don't like to stop, the required rest is likely to be welcome by Zirkle -- she has traveled roughly 180 miles while stopping for a total of just 35 minutes at four separate checkpoints. Sleep deprivation is a very real thing on the Iditarod trail, with mushers often telling stories of vivid hallucinations.

The lead mushers now make their way north on the Yukon, toward the checkpoints of Grayling, Eagle Island and Kaltag, before turning west toward the Norton Sound (map). While the rain may turn to snow, temperatures are expected to remain on the warmer side.

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