A 37-year-old Iron Ranger and three-time John Beargrease champion is running a strong race among the 75 competitors still on the Iditarod sled dog course Friday morning in Alaska.

In 18th place on the race's fifth day was Nathan Schroeder, of Chisholm, Minn.

Schroeder is one of two Minnesotans on the 1,000-mile course stretching from Fairbanks to Nome. Cindy Gallea, 63, of Wykoff, in southeastern Minnesota, was 50th as the race was gliding closer to the halfway point.

Leading the pack was Aaron Burmeister, who's pointed toward his hometown of Nome. The winner's purse this year is $70,000.

Schroeder, born and raised on the Range and who works in the mines when he's not on a sled, is back for his second Iditarod. He came in 17th last year, making him the event's rookie of the year.

He won Beargrease in 2010, 2013 and 2014. In January's 2015 running along the 315-mile Beargrease course, Schroeder was second across the finish line in Duluth.