Born and raised in Bethel, Jessica Klejka is getting ready for her first Iditarod this weekend. The sled dog race to Nome is a long way from her first run, which took place as a four-year-old, pulled by a single dog in the Sunday races that the Kuskokwim 300 Race Committee used to put on in Bethel.
Klejka has run the local Bogus Creek 150 and has volunteered as a veterinarian for the Kuskokwim 300. She has run the Junior Iditarod, winning it one year, and placed fourth in last year's Kobuk 440.
Now living in Big Lake, Klejka took some time during her lunch break to talk to KYUK’s Krysti Shallenberger about her preparations and how she juggled her job, volunteering with the K300, and training for the Iditarod this year. The interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.