One of my favorite stories on the Iditarod Trail this year is Zoya Denure.
She grew up in Wisconsin, no stranger to snow. Spent twelve years as a fashion model.
In 2002, tired of the pressures and triviality of that lifestyle, she rented a storage unit in Madison, Wisconsin, stacked it with furniture, shoes, dresses, and headed to Alaska with a carry-on and the dream of running, living and breathing sled dogs. Her Siberian husky, Ethan, traveled with her.
Five times Zoya has run the Iditarod, and five times had to scratch, somewhere along the trail, for various reasons. (mushers scratch, or quit, if they are too injured or ill or tired to care for their dogs properly, or if their dogs are not up to the run… the safety and well being of the dogs is paramount).
This year she ran under the burled arch in Nome…
DeNure covered the distance from Fairbanks to Nome in 11days, 19 hours and 24 minutes. It was important to Zoya to make Nome this year as she’s scratched for various reasons in five recent tries. Zoya thought of this Iditarod as a journey rather than a race. With this mind set, she took one run at a time. The strategy contributed to the success of this run. The dogs she brought to Nome are young dogs so giving them extra rest along the trail was important. Zoya was vey pleased with how the young dogs matured during the race. In evidence of this were two young leaders who took over for an experienced tried and true leader.
Few people make this kind of leap, from the superficialities of the fashion universe to the hard realities of a winter trail spanning a thousand miles of subarctic wilderness.
Congratulations Zoya! You are an inspiration.
Zoya operates Crazy Dog Kennel along with John Schandelmeier.
Crazy Dog Kennel is a competitive racing kennel, owned and operated by Zoya DeNure and John Schandelmeier, dedicated to the training and rehabilitation of unwanted sled dogs.