Changes in Place for 2019 John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon

The Race Will Start at Billy's Bar in Duluth

DULUTH, Minn. – John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon officials announced on Friday there will be upcoming changes to the 2019 races including making the race shorter, as the main race will now end in Grand Portage instead of Duluth.

Marathon officials say they made the tough decision to shorten the 2019 full marathon to 300 miles.

“The reality is that mushers are signing up for shorter races that they can run fewer dogs in, especially earlier in the mushing season,” states Frank Moe, Beargrease Board of Directors and Sled Dog Musher.

“It’s always hard to make a decision that changes the race to this magnitude.” states Monica Hendrickson, John Beargrease Sled Dog spokesperson.  “But if we don’t align our organization with the goals of our teams – we don’t have a race”.

The Board of Directors also voted unanimously to lower the team requirement from a mandatory 14-dog-hitch to a 12-dog-hitch at the start of the marathon.

Additionally, the mid-distance race has been renamed Beargrease 120 and the recreational class has been renamed Beargrease 40.

For the 35th annual marathon, organizers also decided to start the full race off at Billy’s Bar in Duluth and end the race at Grand Portage Lodge and Casino.

Other Race highlights include:

  • The John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon, The Beargrease 120 and The Beargrease 40 will all start at Billy’s Bar (3502 W. Tischer Road, Duluth, MN) on Sunday, January 27.
  • The Beargrease 40 will end at Two Harbors, MN Highway 2 Gravel Pit on Sunday, January 27
  • The Beargrease 120 will end at Lutsen Mountains Ski & Summer Resort, (467 Ski Hill Road, Lutsen, MN) on Monday, January 28.
  • The John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon will end at Grand Portage Lodge & Casino (70 Casino Drive, Grand Portage, MN) on Tuesday, January 29.
    • **In the event of low snow in Duluth, Race Officials are preparing to use the Two Harbors Gravel Pit as the alternate start location.
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