The burled arch in Nome being prepared for the Iditarod finish.

The first musher, Thomas Waerner of Norway, arrived into White Mountain early this morning. He has about a five-hour lead on the next team in this year’s Iditarod sled dog race.

If Waerner maintains his lead, this would be his first Iditarod victory in only his second running of the race. He’s expected to arrive into Nome by midnight tonight, Tuesday.

Waerner reached the final mandatory layover at White Mountain just after 5:30am, earning him the $2,500 Northrim Bank Achieve More Award. The second musher into that checkpoint was Mitch Seavey. He has gained significant ground in the last few days, moving up from being just outside the top five back in Unalakleet. Seavey arrived in White Mountain at 10:49am this morning, Tuesday March 17, with 10 dogs on the line.

Jessie Royer was the third musher to make it to White Mountain, at 11:40 am.

With the mandatory eight-hour layover at White Mountain, Waerner won’t be allowed to leave the checkpoint until 1:35 pm this afternoon. It’s then about 75 miles to the finish line on Front Street in Nome.

Image at top: Finishing touches are being made to the burled arch and chute at the finish line of the 2020 Iditarod in Nome.