Preparing for the Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon

Officials say the trail is in ideal condition for the marathon.

TWO HARBORS, Minn.-  It’s the longest sled dog race in the country outside of Alaska and the 34th running of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon is coming up next weekend.

Back in the late 1800’s John Beargrease and his brothers would travel from Duluth to Thunder Bay Ontario delivering mail. John became known for using sled dogs and is still celebrated today through the upcoming race.

“We honor the history; the culture, we honor the beauty of the Northshore, and this wonderful relationship between animals and humans working together,” Beargrease vice president Jason Rice said.

With conditions looking good this year, racers will be lining up for the start just north of Two Harbors off Highway two. Over 60 world class mushers are ready to hit the snow covered trails.

“It’s good for a change to not be worried about trail conditions,” Rice said

This race has become a long time Northland tradition.

“It isn’t just a sporting event that’s fun and colorful in the middle of winter, it really represents almost a lost art in the form of Northern living,” Rice said.

“It’s just something we pride ourselves on, doing Nordic things,” Grand Superior Lodge manager Terri Hultegern said.

Workers at places like Grand Superior Lodge know they can always count on being full of exciting families during Beargrease weekend.

“It brings people from all over the United States,” Hultegern said. “You would be surprised it isn’t just a Minnesota event.”

Many visitors come not only to see the sled dogs, but also to soak up some Northshore charm.

“It’s fun year round and these activities help bring people up during the winter; that maybe they don’t ski or snowmobile, but they want to enjoy the loveliness of the Northshore,” Hultegern said. “I enjoy the winter views almost more than the summer views.”

The race runs up and down the Northshore for nearly 400 miles. Giving spectators plenty of places to stop in for a bite to eat and places to stay. As usual the Beargrease race finish line will be at Billy’s Bar.

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