Former U.S. Olympic Education Center wrestler Dallas Seavey in contention at Iditarod sled dog race in Alaska

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A father and son continued to battle for the top spot in the world’s most famous sled dog race, despite another veteran taking the lead Sunday night.

Mitch Seavey, a two-time Iditarod champion, was the first musher out of the checkpoint in the village of Kaltag on Sunday, leaving at 4:40 a.m. His son, current champ Dallas Seavey, departed five minutes later.

Dallas Seavey, who has won four of the past five races, is a former Northern Michigan University student and wrestler at the U.S. Olympic Education Center. He is a third generation musher who grew up helping his dad train his racing teams, according to the Iditarod’s website.

The father and son are close but competitive. Mitch Seavey finished in second place behind Dallas the past two years.

This year’s race across nearly 1,000 miles of grueling Alaska wilderness started March 6 in Fairbanks. The winner is expected early this week in the town of Nome, along Alaska’s frozen Bering Sea coast.