sled dog

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Day five is underway, and teams are already making their way toward Cripple, the tenth checkpoint on this year's Iditarod trail.

Musher Aily Zirkle, the woman who has dominated this year's race so far, has slipped to fourth place, with Jim Lanier now in the lead. John Baker has also dropped from second to seventh place, as mushers Trent Herbst and Mitch Seavey battle it out for second place.

Surprisingly, only one musher has scratched so far, which is rare this late in the race. Rookie Silvia Furtwängler threw in the towel last night after arriving at the Nikolai checkpoint due to concerns about her health.

For more real-time updates and in-depth coverage, go to Iditarod.com!

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With 30 of the 66 teams already resting at Takotna, the eighth checkpoint along the Iditarod trail, this year's race is on pace to be the fastest ever recorded.

Takotna is situated over 350 miles from Anchorage and only 623 miles from Nome. Most mushers have chosen this checkpoint as the location to take their 24 hour break, and there has been little change in the top standings as a result.

Aliy Zirkle is still in first place, with John Baker holding on tight to second. Surprisingly, Lance Mackey has slipped from third to 32nd place and has decided to take a long rest at McGrath, rather than push his team the final 18 miles to Takotna.

Taking Mackey's place behind Zirkle and Baker is Mitch Seavey, the 2004 Iditarod champion and veteran musher who had to withdraw last year at Ophir after severely injuring his fingers with an axe. Seavey is fielding an almost identical team to the one he ran in 2011 and should be considered a serious contender for this year's Iditarod race.

For current standings, checkpoint interviews, and in-depth Iditarod news visit Iditarod.com!

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You guys think we should wait while Hoomin waters a tree? Nah. Let's go catch up with the food sledge...!

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All teams have reached checkpoint one in Willow safely, and will be making their way to checkpoint two at Yentna Station later this afternoon. Today's leg of the race covers 42 miles of gently rolling hills with intermittent clusters of birch woods and spruce swamps.

Live coverage of the official start begins at 2p.m. Alaska Standard Time (3p.m. Pacific) and will be broadcast online for free over at Iditarod.com!

In the mean time, I Has a Hot Dog has plenty of cyoot Iditarod pictures for you to caption over at our captioned image builder, so be sure to check it out!

See you on the trail!

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Zoya DeNure is a veteran musher and works at rehabilitating and rescuing dogs with her friend John Schandelmeier when not training for the Iditarod.

DeNure and Schandelmeier own and operate Crazy Dog Kennels, where 25 of their 45 sled dogs are rescues. "We're retraining these 'discarded' dogs and running them in the main team or placing them with the appropriate musher" says DeNure. "We're excited to say we're making a difference, one dog at a time."

For more info and photos on DeNure's 2012 Iditarod team or to learn more about Crazy Dog Kennels, you can check out dogsleddenali.com!

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