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

©Lisa Johnson

Ryan Anderson left the Two Harbors checkpoint this morning just before 6:00am ... Ryan Redington followed 12 minutes later and Matthew Schmidt was hot on his heels four minutes after that.

Who will be the 2017 John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon champion?

Find out at the Billy's finish line around 10am this morning!

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

45 mushers and over 400 dogs got off to a fast start yesterday morning with the 33 running of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon.

The unseasonable warmth of a week or so ago turned the Alger Grade Gravel Pit north of Two Harbors into a skating rink for spectators, but neither snow nor cold nor ice stayed spectators from seeing off the mushers as they started the swift completion of their almost 400 mile race.

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

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! 


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.

©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!

Photos courtesy Bayfield Chamber of Commerce

High prey drive, pulls like crazy the minute you leash them up and has a lot to say - usually at the top of their lungs.

Housepets from hell?  Hardly - they're the sled dogs who have found a new home through Jim's Team Sled Dog Rescue in Bayfield, WI.

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.