The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race
"The Last Great Race"
On March 6, 2004, the Iditarod Race got underway, starting in downtown
Anchorage. I watched the start on TV, then headed out to Far North Bicentennial
Park to see if I could see some of the dogs and mushers as they went by.
Just by chance, the musher wearing bib number 7 happened to approach my
position beside the trail, and I snapped a couple photos. Although I didn't
recognize who she was, she certainly has a stunning looking team of white
Alaska huskies. I've since learned that this is Anna Bondarenko. She and
her husband, Jim Lanier (who is also running the Iditarod this year), raise
these dogs in a Chugiak kennel called "Northern Whites." This
is the second time that Anna has run the race. She finished 53rd in 2000.
Anna originally came from Russia, where she was an opera singer. She's known
to sing to her dogs out on the trail. She is a teacher here in Alaska, and
has lived here since 1993. It was a thrill to watch this spirited and gorgeous
team go by. I wish them luck out on the trail.
Anna Bondarenko: If you ever get a chance to run the Iditarod and
you don't do it, you'll always regret that.
above: Anna Bondarenko and her team crest a little hill in Far North
Bicentenial Park, Anchorage AK.
Click the photo or here for a full-screen version
below: Now you can see the back end of her team, her Idita-rider
and another handler along for the ride.
Starting tomorrow (3/7), at the restart in Willow, Anna will be alone with
her dogs, for over 1000 miles to Nome.