Neal Beltchenko is leading the race and only 5 miles from the halfway point
Coloradan Neil Beltchenko in his second year racing on the Iditarod Trail is leading the 2018 ITI and is only 5 miles from the halfway point at Rainy Pass Lodge less than 24 hours from the start. He has put 8.5 miles second place rider Clinton Hodges III from Anchorage. A surprise is Jussi Karjalainen from Finland in his rookie year is in third place at the moment.
First woman is Nina Gaessler from Norway closing in on the Winterlake Check point. Nina won the 130 mile event to Winterlake two years ago. Beyond Winterlake, the trail will be new to her.
In the running race we have Tuscobia Ultra winner Scott Hoberg ahead of ITI veteran and record holder David Johnston from Willow traveling with rookie Gavin Woody from Washington state.
Two French runners are off route and appear to have taken a snowmachine ride out to Deshka Landing near Willow. We should hear more about them this afternoon.