Sled dog teams from four nations shared the lead Thursday in the first-ever race spanning the Bering Strait, but all 14 teams were fairly close going into the Soviet city of Provideniya.

Kate Persons of Alaska, Norwegian Ketil Reitan, Swiss musher Peter Thomann and Soviet racer Grigory Ottoy led the way into Provideniya, 339 trail miles from the Nome, Alaska, starting line and 556 miles from the finish in the Soviet city of Anadyr.The Hope '91 International Intercontinental Sled Dog Race started April 6, was held up for a week in the town of Wales, the last Alaska checkpoint, because of U.S.-Soviet visa problems and weather, but was pushing ahead on a newly marked but otherwise unknown trail along the Soviet Bering coast.