TOFTE, Minn. (AP) -- Even after losing one dog, defending champion John Barron was the first to the Poplar Lake checkpoint by one minute in the John Beargrease Marathon.
Barron, of Willow, Alaska, had to drop Tyrell, a dog that hurt her shoulder after slipping on an icy patch.
''She's all right, but John just doesn't want to take any chances so he pulled her out,'' said Ted Knutson, one of Barron's handlers. ''Tyrell's one of his Iditarod leaders and he didn't want it to get injured any further.''
Barron, Doug Grilliot and Steve Rasmussen made the Poplar Lake checkpoint just after 1 a.m. Tuesday, just west of the 400-mile dog sled race's finish at Grand Marais.
They'll head north to another checkpoint at Grand Portage, where they'll turn around and head back toward Grand Marais.
Rasmussen didn't stay long at the Poplar Lake checkpoint, checking out and heading for Grand Portage at 1:41 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Three mushers were slightly injured Monday on a tricky section of the trail near Beaver Bay, but all were determined to continue in the race that started in Duluth.
Rita Lensing of Schroeder, hurt her right arm; Brad Pozarnsky of Bottineau, N.D., hurt his right leg; and Mark Stamm of Riverside, Wash., got a nasty bump on the head. Their sleds overturned when their dogs took a steep, predawn journey onto an apparent shortcut.
Lensing, 37, said her sled flipped and her dogs heard Pozarnsky's dogs at the bottom of the hill.
''They just rocketed down the hill toward the other team. I couldn't stop them,'' she said after pulling into the Finland checkpoint, 24 miles out of Beaver Bay and 129 miles into the race.
Pozarnsky, 47, was limping as he checked his dogs after pulling into Finland around 10:30 a.m.
''But we're going to keep going, I'm not quitting,'' said the veteran of 11 Beargrease races.
Stamm, 42, who was seventh in the 1992 and '93 Beargrease races, had a knot and cut on his head from his mishap but he, too, kept going after the four-hour mandatory layover in Beaver Bay.
Stamm and Lensing rolled into Poplar Lake just before 4 a.m. Tuesday.
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