Kathy was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy in Interlochen, Michigan where she focused on the cello and voice. After high school, Kathy attended Gettysburg College where she majored in history and psychology, graduatedmagna cum laude and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Following college, Kathy taught history and music at a private school while she attended Drexel University for a M.S. in library science. Next, Kathy spent two years as the Assistant Librarian at the Chester County (PA) Historical Society before becoming Head Librarian at the Easttown Library. In the early 1980’s, Kathy decided to change careers and in 1983 graduated from Villanova University School of Law. While at Villanova, Kathy served as the Third Circuit Editor of the Villanova Law Review, published two articles in the Law Review, before graduating cum laude. Kathy’s daughter, Laura Larrimore, was also born while Kathy was in law school. Today, Laura is a graduate student at Ithaca College, and works for the Cornell Library system.
After law school, Kathy worked in a large law firm environment for six years in Philadelphia, then moved to a small suburban firm around the time her son, Christopher Douglas Frederick, was born. When the suburban firm dissolved, Kathy founded Frederick & Associates in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, a small boutique law firm whose focus was on employment law, business and real estate law, and civil litigation.
Shortly after her marriage ended in the early 1990’s, Kathy traveled to Alaska on vacation and immediately fell in love with the land and the people of the Last Frontier. It was here that she first learned about dogsledding and it immediately struck a responsive chord in her as it combined her love of animals with her love of the outdoors and history. Beginning with that first visit to Alaska in 1995, Kathy began to dream about doing the Iditarod some day. As soon as daughter Laura graduated from high school in 2001, Kathy began making plans to move to Alaska and in June of 2002, she left Pennsylvania to join a small law firm in Juneau. In her spare time, Kathy enjoys cross-country skiing, hiking, running, snowshoeing, kayaking and other outdoors activities.
Bitten by the sled dog bug:
Kathy has always loved animals and as a child had a cat, small dog, parakeet, pet duck, a pair of lab rats, and later a lop bunny. After several decades without pets, in 2000, she got her first sled dog, Kenai, who is the subject of Kathy’s article, My Free Dog, in The Warrior. Affectionately referred to as “Kenai the Terrible”, Kenai was quite the learning experience for Kathy. Fortunately, Kathy has found her other sled dogs to be much easier to raise and is quite grateful that Kenai has mellowed with age.
After moving to Juneau, Kathy got her second sled dog and began borrowing friends’ dogs to make up a small recreational sled dog team so that she could compete in sprint races in the Yukon. Besides working with her sled dogs, Kathy became very active in the Juneau community, serving as CEO of United Way of Southeast Alaska, taking part in various musical productions, serving on the Board of the Juneau Chamber of Commerce, and serving as Secretary and then Vice President of the Juneau Bar Association. In addition, Kathy was a member of the Juneau Rotary Club and Juneau Alpine Club and has been a commentator on KTOO’s CourtWatch.
Kathy goes to the dogs:
Eleven years after being bitten by the “sled dog bug”, Kathy turned 55 and realized that if she was ever going to do the Iditarod, she needed to work towards that goal sooner rather than later! She joined forces with Deborah Bicknell, another musher who lived in Juneau, and both women began training for the Iditarod. Bicknell, at age 63, became the oldest female rookie to complete the Iditarod in 2008 and retired from competitive sled dog racing at the end of the race after more than fifty years in the sport. As Deborah Bicknell predicted, Kathy found the learning curve for long-distance mushing far more difficult than she had imagined but Kathy was an eager student and learned quite a bit working with Bicknell and another mentor, Quest musher Frank Turner of Whitehorse.
Beginning in 2006, Kathy began acquiring dogs and puppies as part of building her 2010 Iditarod team. She also began learning the other skills she needed for mid-distance and long distance racing such as how to dress in sub-zero temperatures and how to camp with a dog team.
In the fall of 2007, Kathy decided to relocate to the Mat-Su Valley, which is located about an hour north of Anchorage for a variety of reasons. One of the positive aspects about that move was that she now lives in Willow, Alaska, one of the major mushing areas of Alaska and has miles and miles of trails on which to train.
While she is looking for a full-time job, Kathy continues to practice law on a part-time basis, does occasional mediations for the Alaska court system, and does other work for the State of Alaska on a part-time basis.
Kathy’s dogs have spent the past three summers giving rides to cruise ship passengers on the glacier and more recently on the ground. On the weekends, Kathy gives lectures for Alaska Excursions on racing and dog care issues. The dogs are run throughout the summer and return to the Mat-Su Valley ready for fall training in October. This arrangement also gives Kathy a respite from dog chores as others care and feed her dogs during this five-month period.
Off to the races
Having spare time on her hands since relocating to the Mat-Su region, Kathy completed her Iditarod qualifiers – the Knik 200 and the Taiga 300 – in 2009. The 2009 Knik 200 was a bitterly cold race, with temperatures as low as -52 which, when the wind chill was factored in, was equivalent to -88 degrees. By contrast, the Taiga 300 had temperatures ranging from -30 to + 30. Each race taught Kathy a lot about the rigors of racing and how to care for her team on the trail.
Meet the Team
Jimmy Lebling, 50, was born in Pennsylvania and raised in Maryland. He has spent most of his life in Alaska where he has been a commercial fisherman. He has also been a dog handler and guide for the last 20 years. Running Iditarod has been his dream since he started mushing.
Eric started mushing at Shameless Huskies! He is our nutrition expert. His goals for this year include the Goose Bay 120.