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Iditarod begins; Northlanders running at back of pack

The Northland's contingent of Iditarod racers are running relatively together in the race's early stages.

Blake Freking, Finland, is in 81st place. He left the Yentna checkpoint at 7:39 p.m. Sunday with 16 dogs, according to the Iditarod's standings.

His wife, Jennifer Freking, is in 83rd place. She left Yentna at 8:04 p.m. with 16 dogs.

John Stetson is in 84th place. He left Yentna at 8:52 with 16 dogs.

Beargrease champion Jason Barron, Lincoln, Mont., is in 17th place. He left the Skwentna checkpoint at 2:14 a.m. with 16 dogs.

Gerry Willomitzer, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, is currently leading the race, leaving Skwentna at 9:25 p.m. with 16 dogs. A record field of 95 mushers set out Sunday on the 1,150-mile race from Willow, Alaska, to Nome.