Mar 8, 2013 1:57 PM by Associated Press
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - There comes a time during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race when fatigue can turn Alaska's frozen landscape into an unlikely habitat for an elephant that really isn't there.
Ask Lynda Plettner, a former participant in the 1,000-mile race. She was so sleep-deprived once that she saw an elephant trudging in the snow toward a metal building. Both the elephant and the building got bigger before it dawned on Plettner that she was hallucinating.
Participants in this year's race are at the point where many are struggling with their own exhaustion on their way to the finish line in Nome.
But they keep on mushing anyway.
Aliy Zirkle, last year's runner-up, grabbed the lead Friday morning by being the first to leave the village of Anvik.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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