The John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon on KUMD!

Don’t miss the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon on KUMD! The 2018 John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon is running on the North Shore January 28 through the 31 and KUMD will be reporting live from the trail at 8am, 11am and 2pm through out the race.

John Stetson at the start of the 2006 mid-distance race
Credit ©Kyle Krohn

Former musher and media director Jason Rice joins us every morning at 8am with the overnight update, and this year, we welcome musher, trainer and John Beargrease veteran John Stetson, live from the trail every afternoon at 2pm!

Race director Jason Rice
Credit ©Lisa Johnson

Find links, photos and trail reports right here throughout the race, with more added every day!!

Whoo-hoo!  John Beargrease!

Beargrease Primers

Race photos

2017 | 2016 2015 | 2014 | 2013

Cutest Puppy Contest photos
2017 | 2016 | 2014

KUMD Beargrease Reports made possible by: Energy Plus | Bearskin Lodge | Trail Center Lodge | Racey's Tasty Dog Teats

©Jessica Phoenix/Rivers Cross Photography

In the end, it just came down to faster dogs.

Last year's Beargrease Marathon winner and three-time-champion (also the only person to ever win the marathon and the mid-distance race) missed his chance to tie Jamie Nelson and Nathan Schroeder's record of four marathon wins, crossing the finish line at Billy's this morning at 8:00am.

©Jessica Phoenix/Rivers Cross Photography

Pupparazzi / Lisa Johnson

Now 51 hours into the marathon, Ryan Redington has arrived at the Finland checkpoint.  At nearly the same minute, the next closest competitor, Denis Tremblay, was just leaving Sawbill for Finland. 

©Lisa Johnson

The GPS isn't telling the whole story when it comes to the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon.  It's not just how fast you get to the finish line; it's how fast you get to the finish line WITH your 30 hours of mandated rest!

Read the article on race strategy  by Jason Rice here:

Flip through a slideshow of scenes from the race midpoint at Grand Portage here:

Pupparazzi / Lisa Johnson

Ryan Redington is repeating the strategy he used last year - starting off with a sprint to the front.  The question is: Can he keep up the pace?  Last year, this strategy unfortunately saw his team shrink in size to the point that he was passed approaching the final finish line.  KUMD's Chris Harwood talks with Beargease veteran John Stetson about Redington's possible plan of action, and the other five or so teams that are by no means left behind.  

©Kyle Krohn. Used with permission.

A very wise and wily mushing veteran once told me, “there’s a hundred different things that can happen when you’re mushing…and 99 of them are bad!”

Those were the words of John Stetson, the two-time Beargrease mid-distance champ responding to a question I asked as a reporter covering the race in 2001.  But those words would stick with me like glue as I learned the art and science of running sled dogs from Stetson a year later.

©Lisa Johnson

Over thirty years and 125,000 miles behind a sled later, when John Stetson talks about training dogs, he comes back, over and over again, to trust. How it can enable a person to control 14 fast-moving dogs with only a brake and their voice.  And how easy it is to lose.  

There are no prima donnas on John Stetson’s dog teams.  That goes for the dogs and the human mushers he trains.

"The Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon is all about dogs," you say.  "So of course my dog is welcome, right?"

Beargrease organizers say please, leave your pet at home.

Two words: disease and dessert.

There are thousands of dollars and days invested in creating a competitive sled dog team, an investment that could be down the tubes if a sled dog picks up a bug from an unvaccinated or sick pet.

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.  

Lisa Johnson

The mushers are sprinting toward the finish line of the 2017 John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon this morning:  Ryan Anderson and ten dogs, Ryan Redington with six dogs and Matthew Schmidt also with ten.

Who is going to cross the finish line first?

We'll find out this morning around 10am!

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