John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon

Lisa Johnson

Ryan Anderson and his team crossed the finish line at Billy's Tavern just after 10 this morning, becoming the 2017 John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon Champion!  The final time: 2 days, 23 hours, and 10 minutes. This is Anderson's 3rd win; he previously won in 2011 and 2015.  

Nace Hagemann Photography

The race is in the books, but you can still check out the annual Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon photo exhibit here in Duluth.

©Jessica Phoenix

34 year old Ryan Redington is shaking things up.

People who know of his grandfather, Joe Redington, Sr., one of the founders of the Iditarod sled dog race in the '70s, probably expected no less.

With half of his team left and running short on mandatory rest, Redington's strategy seems to be blazing through each leg of the race (running between 9 and 12 mph) and trying to amass the greatest lead he can.

He left the Devil Track checkpoint this morning at 7:52am, followed by Colleen Wallin at 8:57am, Matthew Schmidt at 9:17am and Ryan Anderson at 9:33am. 

John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon

It was a fast start for the John Beargrease Sled Dog marathon yesterday, and we have lots of winners to report already.

2017 JR Race Results

1.  Jasper Johnson, Duluth, MN

2. Julia Cross, Thunder Bay, ON

3.  Talia Martens, Brule, WI

4. Samuel Louters, Hollandale, MN

2017 Rec Race Results (top 5)

1. Jim Ward - Duluth, MN
2. Ann Stead - Duluth, MN
3. Linus Meyer - Melrose, MN
4. Darcy Stanley-Nord, - Milaca, MN
5. Morgan McClelland - Isabella, MN

And They're Off!

Jan 29, 2017
Kyle Krohn

Sled dog mushers and their dog teams have converged in Two Harbors this morning to start the longest sled dog race in the lower 48. Race information at beargrease.com

Here’s the thing about dogsleds for racing: aside from the runners and the lightweight design, they’re not so much about “go” as they are about “stop.”

And if you’ve ever seen sled dogs being harnessed up for a run, you know why. 

No wonder most mushers use a snub line to attach their rig to the dog truck or some other stationary object! 

Dogsleds

This is called a “track” or “drag mat.”  Chances are, you’ll see mushers standing on it as their teams explode from the starting line. 

Anyone who’s ever tried to pick their next best friend out of a stampede of big feet, slurping tongues, wiggly bodies and whipping tails knows that, when faced with a litter of puppies, the temptation is to just take them all home.

But when sled dog racers get a litter of puppies, it takes a while to know which puppies have what it takes to make a good sled dog.  So all they can do is hang out with the puppies … and wait.

Twin Citian Daniel Lancaster and his family fell under the spell of John Beargrease over ten years ago when they began traveling north on vacations.

Anxious to learn more about the man behind the legend, Lancaster says he ended up writing the book he wanted to find, but couldn't.

©Pupparazzi-Companion Animal Photography

"Cutest puppy" is redundant.

There is no such thing as a not-cute puppy.

Lisa Johnson

Chilly, 30 mile per hour winds swept across the fields as the first few teams arrived at the finish line early this morning. In recent past years, the finish was usually mid-morning.  This year, Nathan Schroeder crossed the line before 6 a.m. with a winning trail time of 33 hours, 1 minute, 58 seconds.  Jason Campeau followed about 45 minutes later, followed by Ryan Anderson in third place an hour after that.

    

©lisa johnson/Thorsburg Photography

Four-time winner of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon, Jamie Nelson, has scratched.

Friends say Nelson felt her dogs were not as ready as she would like for a 400 mile race.

Meanwhile, volunteer-vet-tech-turned-musher Beckie Hacker took a bad spill yesterday.  Her dogs were fine but she hurt her shoulder.  After determining that she could still take care of them (she said she "didn't want to be the weakest link" of her team), she continues her first Beargrease marathon.

Photo courtesy Binner Rahn

Musher Martha Schouweiler has won the mid-distance race for the second year in a row.

Frank Moe took second and the third place finish was being hotly contested at air time this morning.

Meanwhile, Duluth's Ann Stead won the rec race.

Thanks to our intrepid Trail Reporter, Binner Rahn, for keeping us up to speed!

 

Join us as we kick off the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon at the official race start on Sunday, January 31st in Two Harbors! We'll be there spinning local music from the 9am to meet the mushers and stick around for the race start at 11am. Stay tuned for Live Reports on the Trail from January 29 - February 1 at 8am, 11am and 2pm.

Beargrease.com

Robin Eschner

California composer and artist Robin Eschner has spent over a year visiting Minnesota, composing a song cycle about the history and culture of sled dog mushing and northern Minnesota, and that magical place where they intersect: the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon.


Photo courtesy Robin Eschner

Northern California composer Robin Eschner's admiration of musher Susan Butcher has led her to a McKnight grant to compose a song cycle inspired by the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon.

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