Susan Butcher, winner of the last three Iditarod Sled Dog Races, was the first racer to arrive at a ghost town halfway through the grueling 1,168-mile race Thursday night, just two minutes ahead of her closest competitor.

Butcher won $3,000 in silver ingots for being the first musher, or sled dog driver, to the reach the halfway checkpoint, narrowly beating Joe Runyan.Another woman, Dee Dee Jonrowe, was third into Iditarod, a once-thriving mining town that lends its name to the rigorous sled dog race across the vast frozen reaches of Alaska.