April 26, 2017

Musher Details

2017 Iditarod » Mushers » Jim Lanier

Jim Lanier

Hometown: Chugiak, Alaska


Jim Lanier, 76, was born in Washington, DC and raised in Fargo, North Dakota, where his family moved when he was six years old. After receiving his medical degree from Washington University in St. Louis, he moved to Alaska in 1967 to serve at the Native Hospital with the US Public Health Service. A pathologist at Providence Hospital for thirty-some years, Jim is now retired from medicine, but not from mushing. He “went to the dogs” in the 70’s, as a result of hanging around with Iditarod mushers Ron Gould, Dinah Knight and Gerry Riley. Then in 1979, he ran his first Iditarod, as chronicled in his book, Beyond Ophir. In 2014, he entered his seventeenth Iditarod, and, for the first time, had to scratch due to a ruptured Achilles tendon. Came 2015, and Jim was determined to make it to Nome, but determination ran into pneumonia, bringing him to his knees in Unalakleet, and forcing another scratch. Apparently Jim’s determination, or stubbornness, knows no bounds as he returns to the starting line for another go. After that, “Who knows”, he says. “Health aside, it’s a matter of continued enjoyment of the dreaming, planning, scheming, training, support of family and friends, and of going head-to-head with people half my age and younger.” His specialty is his white dogs and therefore, his “Northern Whites Kennel.” Jim is married to Anna Bondarenko, first Russian woman to enter and complete “The Last Great Race on Earth” in 2000. He is the father of four (Margaret, 48, Kim, 47, Willy, 38 and Jimmy, 19) and also the grandfather of five (Annie, Ethan, Ollie, Logan and Jessie.) His hobbies include singing, hunting, commercial fishing, cabin building, reading, writing….and raising kids.


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