Volunteers Still Help Out at Beargrease Despite Pandemic

With the pandemic this year, there were no spectators, but the event's festivities still needed dozens and dozens of volunteers.

DULUTH, Minn. – With the pandemic this year, there were no spectators, but the event’s festivities still needed dozens and dozens of volunteers.

Volunteers stepped up to the plate at this year’s Beargrease Marathon and gave back in the ways they could.

Volunteers new and old came to the race and gave back.

Reece Townsend, a Duluth resident, has been volunteering for the past 15 years. Whether it be helping direct cars or help navigate the dogs, he’s dedicated to volunteering for the race.

“No matter pandemic or not, I’m always going to volunteer,” said Townsend. “No matter what’s going on, I’m always going to volunteer. It’s something that I’ve always done. It’s a childhood thing. It’s a memory. It’s something I’ve always loved to do.”

He says it’s great to see people come together to watch and support the sport.

“It’s a lot of fun,” said Townsend. “Something brings everyone together, brings the community together. You get to see a lot of friendly faces. It’s a good time.”

On the other hand, Alan Zhou is volunteering for the first time this year as a timekeeper for the race. He says he wanted to get some experience in the lower 48’s and with Beargrease being the longest run in that area, he wanted to help out.

“The first time here at a new race is always exciting,” said Zhou. “It’s always great to meet new people, put faces to names, and just be in a different environment just to see how races are run differently.”

He says while the pandemic has created some changes, it’s rewarding to be able to see everyone come out and overcome their obstacles.

“Everyone has gone through their own challenges in the last couple of years and to see the mushers and the dogs out here, really shows their resiliency to do what they love,” said Zhou.

About 200 volunteers gave their services at this year’s Beargrease Marathon.

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