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Associated Press
Iditarod musher Aliy Zirkle, from Two Rivers, Alaska, mushes between the checkpoints of White Mountain and Safety, the last checkpoint before the finish line in Nome. (AP Photo/The Anchorage Daily News, Bob Hallinen)

4-time Iditarod champ scratches miles from end

Associated Press
Iditarod musher Aliy Zirkle, from Two Rivers, Alaska, works on her gear at the White Mountain checkpoint during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Monday, March 10, 2014. Zirkle has her out time for the checkpoint written on her finger. (AP Photo/The Anchorage Daily News, Bob Hallinen)
Associated Press
Iditarod musher Aliy Zirkle, from Two Rivers, Alaska, works with her dog team at the White Mountain checkpoint during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Monday, March 10, 2014. (AP Photo/The Anchorage Daily News, Bob Hallinen)
Associated Press
Iditarod musher Aliy Zirkle, from Two Rivers, Alaska, waits for her out time at the White Mountain checkpoint during the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on Monday, March 10, 2014. (AP Photo/The Anchorage Daily News, Bob Hallinen)

– In a stunning reversal of fortune, four-time Iditarod Trail Sled Dog champion Jeff King has scratched from the race about 25 miles from the finish line.

The scratch came just hours after King appeared to be cruising to a record-tying fifth win in the nearly 1,000-mile race across Alaska.

According to Iditarod officials, King scratched because of severe wind in the area, and he was having trouble navigating the trail.

He had a lead of an hour over second-place Aliy Zirkle, but she passed him and was the first musher into the last checkpoint in Safety, about 22 miles from the finish line.

Iditarod officials indicated she may be waiting out the storm, which included winds of up to 40 mph and blowing snow.

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