Musher Details

2021 Iditarod » Mushers » Gunnar Johnson

Gunnar Johnson

Hometown: Duluth, MN


Gunnar Johnson, 49, was born and raised in Minnesota. During his growing up years, he spent many summers in Alaska. He received a degree in biology from the University of Minnesota at Duluth and his JD form American University in Washington, DC. He spent two years in Alaska running dogs, commercial fishing and working for the court system. After that he returned to Minnesota and for the last eight years has been the city attorney in Duluth. He first began mushing in 1990 but when he was eleven years old in 1979, he saw Jim Lanier’s slide show on his first Iditarod. Gunnar says “that changed my life.” He ran the Iditarod in 1991 and came back in 2004 and ran the Copper Basin in 2004, then the Denali Doubles in 2016 and the Northern Lights 300. “ Gunnar says, “I’m sort of an accidental musher. One week before I entered the Iditarod, I was not planning on running dogs again until next winter. Unfortunately, Jim Lanier was not able to run the Iditarod and asked if I would run his team to Nome. It seemed a little crazy at the time, but I was able to convince my family and my work that running a team of dogs from Fairbanks to Nome was a good idea. I did run this team in the Northerrn Lights 300 in January. I have strong memories of my 1991 Iditarod. I was 22 years old when I started the race. I felt like I was in my late 40’s when I finally rolled into Nome. I gained a lifetime of knowledge between Anchorage and Nome. Now, years later, mushers like Martin Buser, Jeff King, Ketil Reitan and Mark Nordman are still involved with the race. Others like Susan Butcher, Joe Redington, Sr., and Steve Fossett are no longer with us. I am taking a break from legal work this winter. My children are off to college. Jim Lanier still has a few dogs left from his 2020 Iditarod team. Now is as good of a time as any for me to run the Iditarod one more time. It is a special opportunity to be a part of this amazing race. I’m looking forward to it in 2021. Gunner is a member of the Gnesen Township Planning and Zoning Board, Association of Minnesota Attorneys and Ducks Unlimited. He is married to Ingrid and has twin fourteen year old daughters, Ilsa and Lily. He lists his hobbies as “watching my daughters play sports, cross country skiing, hunting and fishing.”


Papa Murphy’s Pizza-Detroit Lakes, MN,
Foltz Trucking -MN, Black River
Sled-WI, Fortress Clothing-UT,
Lanier Family-AK,

Hruska Family-MN,
Stassen Family-MN,
Lucero Family-MN,
Lisa, Lily and Ingrid Johnson-MN.