Joe Runyan, Runyan's Remarks, Iditarod Musher

Runyan's Remarks

Read regular reports about the race from Joe Runyan, an Iditarod champion, who knows what it takes to win.. Read 2011 Race Reports


The Latest

John Baker arriving at the Kotzebue airport

Welcome Home, John!

Greeted by so many upon his arrival at the Kotzebue airport John is appreciative of the outpouring of support and congratulatory messages from everyone. See more videos of John's return home.

Golden Harness Award to Snickers and Velvet Iditarod

Velvet and Snickers Honored

Team Baker's lead dogs were honored by all the mushers when awarded the Golden Harness Award in recognition as the top canine athletes of the race. Shy and laid back, Velvet is a natural leader; and Snickers is the team's secret weapon with the ability to generate more team speed.

Team Baker, kennel supported by family and friends.

Expression of Gratitude

Maintaining a competitive kennel with a focus on team performance is hard work. Our kennel is supported by family and this year we were fortunate to have Cindy Barrand who helped train the team and Maret Heatta who assisted with the kennel. Thanks to everyone for your support throughout the year!

Jeff Schultz photo - John Baker and Tahayla at finishline

A Drumbeat Away

Team Baker approached the burled arches to the sound of beating drums and songs of the Yup'ik and Inupiat. The drums, like the beating of the heart, conveyed the exhilaration John felt while guiding the dogs to the finish line. View "Highlights from Nome" video at and read more at "Baker's Win Hits Home" .

John Baker Iditarod Finishline

Team Baker #1 in Nome!!
March 15, 2011

Record setting 8 days, 19 hours,
46 minutes, 36 seconds!

John Baker Iditarod Sponsors

Vision and Commitment

The relationship between dog driver and dogs evolves over time and building a good team takes vision and commitment. Similarly Team Baker has many, many people who share John’s vision and a family of sponsors who have made a long-term investment to pursue shared goals. This commitment to each other is built on relationships based on mutual trust and respect.

John Baker, Iditarod front runner.

Eyes on Team Baker

A positive energy gains momentum with an outpouring of support greeting Team Baker at each checkpoint and comparisons to local Iditarod legends Herbie Nayokpuk and Joe Garnie. This large showing of support is described by Baker as "inspirational" and he says, "No matter what the outcome the honor is appreciated." See YouTube video of Team Baker pulling into Elim.

Rambo - ADN photo fo Baker dog

Running the Distance

Strong and steady this is Rambo’s fifth Iditarod and just like his sister, Velvet, he makes the distance running business look easy. This quiet and serious team of huskies is steadily heading up the trail at a comfortable pace and for them its business as usual.

John Baker out of Unalakleet, Alaska

Respect for Competitors

Confident yet uncertain about the outcome, John has a strong competitive nature coupled with an immense respect for his competitors. In this highly competitive sport, respect is truly the ultimate competitive advantage. Baker says, “Still miles to go and anything can happen."

Coast Arrival is Golden!

Team Baker is greeted with warm welcome in Unalakleet. While leading by 2 ½ hours Baker is keenly aware of the tough competitors also in hot pursuit of the winning title. Both John and the dogs display a mental toughness honed by the arctic environment as they push on up the coast. Read related article.

John Baker attend his dogs, Iditarod Trail Race.  Stephen Nowers, Alaska Dispatch

Ramp up the Power

When the team hit the Yukon they exhibited energy. Team Baker has the powerful combination of a high performing team and a focused dog driver. In sled dog racing a musher and the dogs need each other to accomplish what they are truly capable of achieving. Let’s see what this team can do together!

John Baker sled dog team, Iditarod Trail Race

Strong Leaders Make a Team

A strong leader makes all the difference and without a good leader many teams fail. Team Baker is fortunate to have many leaders including Velvet, Snickers, Riot, Jazz, and River; and also two up and coming leaders Summit and Sonar. See the team roster for more info.

Halfway There

Typically under the radar, the spotlight is now on Team Baker as they move into the second half of the race. Unaffected by the excitement, the dogs are quiet, serious, and attentive. Focused and driven, John maintains a momentum of steady calm as the team heads north.

Iditarod Athletes - Team Baker sled dogs

World Class Athletes

"Coach" Baker works on the dogs training and nutrition year round so they can perform at the highest competitive levels. During a race he watches each dog. Recently he explained what he looks for during a race, "Focus on how the dogs are doing, look for potential beyond what is evident, than if you do it just right, they will achieve something significant".

Musher John Baker, Iditarod trail food, Niiqipiat mix


Traditional Inupiat foods are what sustained people of the arctic for thousands of years. John carries a mix of dried meats, fish, maktak, and greens in seal oil. The human body needs fats and oils in sub-zero temps and this snack definitely delivers!

Michigan kindergartin class root for Team Baker

Go John Go!

John Guthrie's kindergarten class at Sonoma Elementary School in Grand Rapids, Michigan is tracking the Iditarod and Team Baker. All 23 students got Baker posters and dog booties from the team’s stop at Rainy Pass. The kids are rooting for John’s first Iditarod victory!

John Baker at Iditarod check point in McGrath, Alaska

Run Thru a Checkpoint

The teams often run through checkpoints yet mushers take time to greet supporters and sign autographs. The community support at each checkpoint does plenty to boost a musher’s energy during the race. If you see Team Baker on the trail, post photos and comments on Facebook at John Baker Iditarod Update.

John Baker Racing

Arctic Racing Team

Baker dogs are bred for arctic conditions and long runs. The 2011 Iditarod team includes 11 females and 5 males. There are 13 veterans with 39 years of combined Iditarod experience. Add John’s 15 years that’s a total of 54 years of trail experience and race knowledge!

John Baker Napping at Nikolai

Snoozing in the Sun

The stretch from Rohn to Nikolai is approximately 75 miles and Team Baker did the run in 8h45m. After feeding and caring for the dogs, John took a nap in the sunshine. The warm temperatures, near 20F during the day and 0F at night, are expected to continue Check weather at www.wunderground/...iditarod

John Baker in Rainey Pass, Iditarod 2011

Rainy Pass and Beyond

After a 3-hour rest Baker pulled out of Rainy Pass at 5:02pm for the 48 mile run to the other side of the Alaska Range arriving in to Rohn at 8:58pm. The fastest travel time from Rainy Pass to Rohn was Buser in 3h:31m followed by Mackey with 3h:38m then Neff at 3h:42m and Williams, Jr. at 3h:51m and Baker at 3h:56m.

Iditarod Start - Willow, AK. Photo by Marianne Downey

The Race has Begun

Team Baker Raring to Go!

With quiet, calm steadiness Team Baker moved closer to the chute in Willow. After the final countdown “3-2-1” they were off! Check for regular updates on Facebook at the John Baker Iditarod Update page.

Idiatarod Willow Start 2011

Solid and Strong

John walks with Snickers and Velvet as they lead the team to the chute in Willow. Check for regular updates on Facebook at the John Baker Iditarod Update page and for race standings.

John Baker sled dog leaders 2011 - Snickers & Velvet

Leaders Set the Tone

Team of Veteran Huskies

Velvet and Snickers led Team Baker out of Willow with steady confidence. The team has Iditarod veterans Kona, Huffy, Riot, Next, Fender, Jazz, River, Mongoose, Sonar, Rambo, and Summit. Three rookies in the team this year are Rapid, Ripple, and Speckle.

Iditarod Cerimonial Start 2011

Big Wild Race

Dogs Run Anchorage!

Downtown Anchorage is alive with excitement as dog teams leave the chute two minutes apart and traverse the city for the ceremonial start. View more photos at the photo gallery, on Facebook at John Baker Iditarod Updateand at

Iditarider, 2011 Ceremonial Start Iditarod, John Baker, musher

Honoring Her Traditions

She Wrote to Ride in Dogsled

Brandolyn Ahyakak won the opportunity to ride in Baker’s sled. She submitted the winning essay in a contest sponsored by Arctic Slope Regional Corporation. The 12-year old wrote about the Inupiat traditions she practices with her family in Nome. Congratulations Brandolyn!

John drawing bib number Iditarod 2011

Team Baker Draws #53

Stealth Mode Mushing

There will be sixty-two teams leaving town and John will be wearing bib #53. Watch Team Baker leave downtown Anchorage at 11:46am Alaska Time on Saturday, March 5, 2011. For a complete list of mushers and their bib numbers go to

John Baker 2011 Iditarod Musher, Poster

I Dream, I Try, I Win

Reach for a dream or you’ll always wonder and even doubt yourself. With actions taken in a specific direction, each step brings you closer to achieving that aspiration. Choices made when dealing with each challenge defines who you are. John conveys this message to students in the Northwest Arctic and North Slope at

Red Dog Mine, Teck, Zinc Mine, Alaska

A Man and his Dog

On the Shoulders of Giants

Bob Baker and his dog, O’Malley, discovered a significant ore deposit in northwest Alaska. Named in their honor, the Red Dog Mine is the world’s largest producer of zinc concentrate. The special relationship continues with the Red Dog Mine operator Teck as a member of Team Baker at

John Baker, Inupiat, cultere, heritage, Alaska native

Strong Identity

John’s Inupiat heritage grounds him especially when challenged. He strives to honor a value system steeped in the ancient history of a people closely connected to the land and animals. Team Baker is privileged to have Arctic Slope Regional Corporation on our team to promote our shared Inupiaq culture at

John Baker, Iditarod Musher, Sled Dogs


What is John Tweeting About?

A musher spends hours on the sled runners, watching and working with their team of athletic canines. John generously shares his knowledge of sled dogs, racing, and arctic survival. To learn about his thoughts on leadership and teamwork follow JB on Twitter @TeamJohnBaker.

Dr. Phil Meyers - Iditarod Vet Check

Whaz Up Doc?

Extensive medical examinations are required of the dogs before the race. Team Baker visited caring and friendly ‘family doc’ veterinarian Dr. Phil Meyer. Our girl, River, suggests you check out the Wasilla Veterinary Clinic for the high quality medical and surgical needs of all your pets at:

Joe Runyan, writer, Iditarod Sled Dog Race


Popular writer and race analyst Joe Runyan will share his insights of the 2011 Iditarod Sled Dog Race. He is a race strategy specialist and his advice is sought by many veteran and novice mushers. Check here for updated race analysis at Runyan's Remarks.

NAC -Flying Team John Baker, Iditarod dogs

Gotta Fly So We Can Run

Rural Alaskans rely on air services and the shipping experts are on our team! NAC transports supplies for Team Baker quickly and efficiently throughout the year. During the racing season NAC provides transportation for our team of arctic huskies. NAC can take care of your shipping needs. Go to NAC for teamwork that delivers at

Josie Sampson with John Baker


Thanks to Josie Sampson and all our family and friends who support Team Baker. You help us seek to achieve beyond our current known capabilities. To connect with you during the Iditarod Sled Dog Race we are on Facebook and Twitter@TeamJohnBaker.

Velvet- Team John Baker, Iditarod Musher 2011

Velvety Calm

A sweet-natured leader, Velvet makes running a thousand miles look easy giving the impression that it’s no big deal. Her calm demeanor positively influences the rest of the Team. Today, a little bird has captured Velvet’s gaze . . . you can follow Velvet and her team on Twitter @TeamJohnBaker.twitter

John Baker, Kotzebue musher, Iditarod Preparation

Fierce Winds Howl Across the Arctic

Kotzebue has been pummeled with howling winds and adverse flying conditions. Amidst the chaos and excitement of packing food and supplies, John, watches the weather. For current conditions go to

Facebook page

Facebook Fan Page

Over 800 fans and counting!

Networking on Facebook during the Iditarod 2010 was a fun, interactive way for supporters to connect and stay on top of Team Baker’s progress during the race. The new site was introduced a few days prior to the 2010 race and has grown rapidly. Check it out!