Mushers, Fans Kick Off Beargrease Marathon Month with Bent Paddle Beer Release

Organizers say 26 mushers will take on the journey, some coming from as far as Alaska and Canada.

DULUTH, Minn.- January has begun which means the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon is just on the horizon. And race month kicked off at Bent Paddle Brewery Sunday.

The pour of Bent Paddle’s special Beargrease British Pale Ale marked that the race is ready to run.

Signup for the full marathon race of 300 miles from Duluth to Grand Portage, Minnesota filled up within 36 hours.

Organizers say 26 mushers will take on the journey, some coming from as far as Alaska and Canada.

“Right now our mushers are telling us that the trail’s really fast. It snowed a lot and it got cold it is fast,” said Monica Hendrickson, Marketing and Developing Consultant for Beargrease.

But perhaps more excited were the fans who have adopted the race as a big part of their lives every winter.

“You follow a race, you follow an event and you want to be part of it and so we’re excited that there’s so many people here that are here to meet our mushers see some of our dogs, and just be part of the event,” she said.

Mushers stopped by with the furry-four-legged members of their team to say hi and share their outlooks for this year’s run.

Spectators are welcomed back again this year after last year’s scaled-down version due to the pandemic.

Two-time champion Blake Freking says nothing can harsh his buzz when Beargrease rolls around.

“Regardless of what we get for snow or conditions, we’re all in the same boat so to me I don’t prefer one or the other but yeah right now conditions are great, more snow would be wonderful,” said Freking.

“I’m excited for Beargrease every year. Like I said this is my 17th, 17th Beargrease so excited every year it’s a great event we look forward to it it’s a big part of our lives and we put a lot of work into it a lot of money, and effort,” he said.

The 2022 John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon starts January 30th and runs through the following Tuesday.

It is free for the public, but donations are accepted.

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