Our hometown hero
We were thrilled — and more than a bit awed — to see Chugiak’s own Jim Lanier was once again donning his signature hockey pads at the start of this year’s Iditarod March 3 on Willow Lake. If there’s someone who embodies the independent Chugiak-Eagle River spirit, it’s Lanier.
Still going strong at 73, Lanier first ran the Last Great Race in 1979. He’s now in his fifth decade of competition, and shows no signs of slowing down. In a race that can knock out even the toughest of mushers, the grandfather of five has never once failed to get one of his teams to Nome.
In today’s fast-paced, Internet-driven society, it seems we’re always looking for the next big thing. But Lanier proves that being “old school” is a pretty good way to go. He’s not flashy (he’s never won the race, nor been considered a top contender), but Lanier is as respected a musher as any in the sport.
It’s a nice example that hard work and a desire to continue doing what one loves can pay worthy dividends. Lanier’s drive to continue making his way down the trail should be a source of great inspiration to all of us — whether we’re 73 or 17.
That the retired physician hails from right here in our backyard is a source of great pride for the residents of our area, whose proud history with the Iditarod dates back to the days when Eagle River served as the first official checkpoint.
We wish Lanier the best of luck out on the trails, and hope to see him back at the race start for many years to come.
Maybe 70 is the new 20.