Four-time champion Lance Mackey was leading the field early Tuesday in the 2016 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race across the Alaska wilderness.

Mackey, from Fairbanks, Alaska, who won four consecutive Iditarod titles from 2007-10, paused only briefly at the Rohn checkpoint - 188 miles into the 975-mile race - before continuing on at about 7 p.m. Alaska time Monday.

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He was followed about an hour later by two-time defending champion Dallas Seavey of Willow, Alaska, according to standings on the race website. They were on the 75-mile leg to the next checkpoint at Nikolai.

Meanwhile, Northland musher Nathan Schroeder was running in 34th place early Tuesday, resting at the Rohn checkpoint. Schroeder, of Warba, a four-time John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon champion now running in his third Iditarod, arrived at Rohn at about 10 p.m. Alaska time Monday.

Musher Jason Campeau of Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, who was runner-up to Schroeder in this year's Beargrease, was running in 38th place early Tuesday, having arrived at Rohn at about 11:45 p.m. Alaska time Monday.

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The Iditarod's ceremonial start was Saturday in Anchorage; the restart was on Sunday in Willow, Alaska.

Now in its 44th year, the race commemorates a 1925 rescue mission that delivered diphtheria serum by sled-dog relay to the western coastal community of Nome on the Bering Sea.

This year's Iditarod features 85 mushers and teams each made up of 16 dogs. The winning team is expected to reach the finish line in Nome sometime early next week. 

Reuters contributed to this report.