Three-time champion Susan Butcher led the mushers as the leaders of the 1,168-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race began the sprint to Alaska's west coast.

Butcher left this Yukon River village at 6:55 p.m. Sunday, with Martin Buser of Big Lake one minute behind her.The leaders - Butcher of Manley, Buser, Joe Runyan of Nenana, Rick Swenson of Two Rivers and DeeDee Jonrowe of Willow - have been out in front of the pack since they left the gold mining ghost town of Iditarod, 558 miles into the race.

The mushers raced toward the coastal village of Unalakleet, 93 miles away and the longest stretch between checkpoints in the race.