A native Minnesotan is leading the way this morning in the Iditarod, the world's most prestigious sled dog race.

Paul Gebhardt, who grew up near Glencoe, Minn., and moved to Alaska in the 1970s, is first as of late this morning in the 1,100-mile trek from Anchorage, Alaska, to Nome.

As for others with Minnesota roots among the starting field of 67:

Mitch Seavey, who was born in Brainerd, is 11th. He won the Iditarod in 2004.

Ed Iten, who was raised in Browerville and returned to Alaska for college, is 13th.

Ken Anderson, who graduated from Forest Lake High School and moved to Alaska in 1993, is 17th.

Rick Swenson, who was born in Willmar moved from Minnesota to Alaska in 1973 to mush dogs, is 20th. He is the only five-time Iditarod winner (1977, 1979, 1981, 1982, and 1991).

Jake Berkowitz, who grew up in St. Paul and now lives in Anchorage, is 45th.

Also, entered in her first Iditarod is 58-year-old Nancy Yoshida, who is from Thompson, N.D., just a few miles south of Grand Forks. Yoshida is in 60th place and is one of 15 rookies in the race.

Two-time defending champion Lance Mackey of Fairbanks, Alaska, is looking for his third consecutive win. He is third at this point.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482