Iditarod honors Gail Phillips as 2020 honorary musher

Gail & Walt Phillips (Courtesy Iditarod Trail Committee)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) — Longtime organizer and Iditarod fixture Gail Phillips was recognized Monday as the 2020 Iditarod honorary musher.

Phillips will be will wear bib no. 1 and will be the first to leave the Iditarod ceremonial start in downtown Anchorage.

From 1975-77 Phillips organized the Iditarod from her Spenard home, along with working as executive secretary for Don Brugman of Wien Air Alaska. She served on the Iditarod Board of Directors from 1975 through 1979 and was a race coordinator for the 1977, 1978 and 1979 races.

She also spent a career serving in the Alaska House of Representatives, where she served for 10 years. These days she is a board member for the Iditarod Trail Race Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the Iditarod.

“We are so fortunate that Gail entered the Iditarod when she did. I have no doubt that this event and culture would have been much different without her passion and determination,” said Iditarod board president Mike Mills in a statement from the race.

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