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Iditarod leader Lance Mackey headed for finish line

Iditarod leader Lance Mackey passed the last checkpoint and is heading for the finish line.

By AP / March 16, 2010

Lance Mackey leaves the Elim checkpoint after a brief stop yesterday during the 2010 Iditarod Sled Dog Race.

Bob Hallinen/ Anchorage Daily News/ AP

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ANCHORAGE

Three-time defending champion Lance Mackey is headed first for the finish line in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

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Mackey reached the last checkpoint at Safety at 11:37 a.m. on Tuesday.

He left just four minutes later, getting back on the trail for the 22-mile (35-kilometer) run to Front Street and the finish in the 1,100-mile (1,770-kilometer) race from Anchorage to Nome.

Mackey was expected to reach Nome sometime between 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Mackey has a 10-mile (16-kilometer) lead over his closest competitor, Hans Gatt. Four-time Iditarod champion Jeff King, who led part of the race, was in third place.