DeeDee Jonrowe

:: A different kind of marathon

Earlier this month, about 100 runners, walkers and waddlers traveling aboard the cruise ship Westerdam finished the final leg of The Great Alaskan Maritime Marathon – a 26.2-mile event with segments onboard the ship and in Ketchikan, Juneau and Sitka.

Silverseas’ Silver Shadow went to the dogs last month when Dee Dee Jonrowe visited the ship to talk about the partnership between man and dogs.

DeeDee is the foremost female dog musher competing in the world today. She has both the fastest time of any woman in the history of the Iditarod and 13 top 10 finishes in her career.

DeeDee said her onboard presentation also “touched on how my dogs contributed to helping me heal from cancer and many guests came up and talked with me afterwards who were in the process of cancer treatment or were cancer survivors.”

The Willow resident found the ship experience impressive, especially the cleanliness and convenience of only unpacking once while traveling to many different destinations.

DeeDee’s can-do, positive attitude makes her one of Alaska’s most popular mushers. “I have had many successes and disappointments in the past 20+ years but one element has remained consistent. I have always tried to do my very best and I have always enjoyed the special bond and love that I have shared with my dogs. It has been my privilege to share this unique experience with the volunteers and race fans.”

DeeDee ran her first Iditarod in 1980 and soon undertook the building of her own sled, a comprehensive breeding and training program for her dogs, and a rigorous physical fitness program for herself. The result is that by the time DeeDee and her team undertake the Iditarod in March of each year, they have logged almost 2,000 miles of training together.

In addition to the Iditarod, DeeDee has competed and won most major dog sledding races throughout her career, including the Copper Basin 300, Klondike 300 and the John Bear grease sled dog marathon.

DeeDee has won numerous awards for the care of her dogs through her career, including the best-cared for team, the best dog care award (given by staff veterinarians), and the dog’s best friend award. As her dogs are her top priority, she became a founding member of Mush with PRIDE, which provides responsible information of a dog’s environment, exhibiting her commitment to set the standards for all aspects of sled dog care.

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