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Women of the Iditarod

The Iditarod® Race is truly a race among equals, women and men. There is no separate race for women, no special privileges, no mercy. Women compete toe-to-toe with men—and they have a history of victory.

To celebrate International Women's Day on March 8, TogoRun salutes all of the women racing the Iditarod®, and legendary Iditarod® musher DeeDee Jonrowe. A true hero, 62-year old DeeDee has raced in the Iditarod® more than two dozen times. She is also a cancer survivor. We also give a shout-out to every woman on the trail and in the past.

This year, 17 women – from the U.S., Canada, and Norway – are braving extreme temperatures, fierce winds, and treacherous terrain to cross nearly 1,000 miles of Alaska wilderness. Their courage, stamina, and tenacity inspire all of us at TogoRun.

In commemoration of the 92nd anniversary, TogoRun developed and distributed to women of the Iditarod® purple armbands to show solidarity and support of the women on the trail and around the globe on that special day!

Today, the Iditarod race represents one of the most physically grueling and strenuous tests of human determination – for men and women. Join with us in celebrating the Women of the Iditarod and cheering them on to the finish line!


International Women's Day



DeeDee Jonrowe

Hometown: Willow, Alaska

DeeDee Jonrowe, 61, was born in Frankfort, Germany, while her father was in the military. The family moved to Alaska in 1971 where her dad was stationed at Ft. Richardson. DeeDee has a B.S. degree in Biological Sciences and Renewable Resources and now lists her occupation as kennel owner and dog racer. She began mushing in 1979 when she was living in Bethel and her mother was excited about volunteering in the early Iditarod races. She says, "This will be my 33rd Iditarod start. My dogs are my life's passion, and I consider it a privilege to travel and compete with them through God's most beautiful country. I have had many successes and failures on the trail but am always grateful. It is a blessing to have a life dedicated to my family, my dogs and true adventure. The Iditarod race participants, vets, volunteers and staff have become my extended family, however dysfunctional we may be at times. I dearly love them all. My team represents the very best of the 35 years of breeding, and I am excited to be with them on the trail in 2017." DeeDee is a member of the Big Lake Baptist Church, the Willow Running Club and Sunrise Rotary. She enjoys playing softball and motivational speaking in her spare time. She also enjoys her Pekinese and raising Labrador Retrievers. DeeDee is married to Mike, secretary of the Iditarod's Board of Directors.



Jodi Bailey

Hometown: Fairbanks, Alaska

Jodi Bailey, 46, grew up on the island of Martha's Vineyard, MA, a world away from mushing and arctic winters. She earned her BA in Theater Studies and Anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. It was there that she got a grant to study storytelling and made her first summer trip to Alaska. From the moment she first arrived here, she was hooked, and after graduating in 1991, she moved to Fairbanks and never looked back. Today she and Dan Kaduce call Dew Claw Kennel in Chatanika, AK, home.

Jodi began mushing in 1995, and before her first Iditarod, she ran the Copper Basin, Tustumena, Denali Doubles and Kobuk 440 in addition to other shorter races. In 2011, Jodi made history when she became the first rookie to successfully complete both the Yukon Quest and Iditarod in the same year. Jodi says, "It is an honor to be able to work with these amazing dogs. They never fail to inspire me with their attitude and what they are capable of doing. When you are out there on the trail with your team, you don't have e-mails, or work, or laundry, or anything like that. Everything that is important is right there in front of you. When you travel by dog team you are really exposed to the world around you, experiencing it in all its beauty and extremes. People talk about finding your 'happy place'. Well, for me it is on the back of a sled with my team."

In addition to mushing she finds time for yoga, running, biking, gardening and cooking. "A lot of what we do every day is really part of the bigger goal of running dogs," Jodi says. She also enjoys crafts and projects, such as making salves from botanicals she harvests locally, and making jams from wild berries and her own organic rhubarb. Jodi is married to Yukon Quest and Iditarod veteran, Dan Kaduce.



Zoya DeNure

Hometown: Delta Junction, Alaska

Zoya DeNure, 38, was born and raised in Wisconsin. As a young girl, she traveled the world as a fashion model, walking the runways in Milan, Italy and Shanghai, China. After 12 years in the field, Zoya was ready for a change. Soon after returning home from Italy, she bought a Siberian Husky named Ethan and from there, new dreams realized. "Dogs make me very happy!" Zoya read everything she could about mushing and the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. The late Susan Butcher inspired her, and Zoya shared Susan's passion for animals and adventure. Heading north to a dog yard in Alaska, seeking a more basic lifestyle away from all the city hub-bub, seemed like an easy decision. Now, twelve years later; "I live my dream in the mountains, with my family and forty sled dogs." The family splits their time living between their homes on the Maclaren River and in Delta Junction. "My office is outside with canines and nature." She and her husband, John Schandelmeier, have two daughters, 6 year old Jona, and one year old Olivia. Zoya enjoys running, biking, teaching yoga, traveling and time with family.



Katherine Keith

Hometown: Kotzebue, Alaska

Katherine, 36, was born in Minnesota and lived there until completing high school at which point Katherine decided that it was time to pursue her dream of going to Alaska. She graduated from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks in 2008 with a degree in Renewable Energy Engineering. She had always dreamed of flying a bush plane, eating caribou, running dogs, and having a camp in the Brooks Range. She went to Kotzebue to handle dogs and has lived there off and on ever since. Katherine began racing dogs in 2011 and soon realized that Iditarod was on the horizon. So she began competing in the races she needed to qualify for the 2014 Iditarod.

Katherine and John Baker raise and train over 50 dogs in Kotzebue, Alaska as they focus on having the best dog kennel in the world. Katherine and John also own a number of small businesses including Remote Solutions, LLC which allows them to professionally help meet the needs of rural Alaska. Katherine is an Ironman Triathlete and hopes to soon qualify for the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. She is also a proud parent of Amelia who is 12 years old.