Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon postponed until MarchThe race has been postponed until March 10. It had been scheduled to start Jan 27.
By: News Tribune staff, Duluth News Tribune
The John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon has been postponed until March 10. It had been scheduled to start Jan 27.
“The board made the decision last night,” race coordinator Pat Olson said Tuesday morning. “I don’t know that we really had any choice but to postpone. It was tough, but the trail is terrible. The rain sealed the deal.”
“I’m hoping we get snow by March 10,” Olson said.
If it doesn’t, the race could face only its third cancelation ever.
Before Friday’s rain, race organizers had made contingency plans for marathon racers to leave the start line near Duluth with fewer dogs than normal, while the start of the mid-distance race would move to Lake County Highway 2 north of Two Harbors, where there was more snow. But the rain worsened already marginal trail conditions.
“It’s disappointing, but they are making the right decision,” said racer Jen Freking of Finland. “With the trail iced up like that the trail is in a little worse condition than it was last year when they had to make that decision.”
Last year’s races were scheduled to begin Jan. 29. A lack of snow and safety concerns caused the board of directors to cancel the race on Jan. 15. It also was canceled in 2007.
Freking and her husband, Blake, have three teams registered for this year’s Beargrease: Blake in the marathon, and Jen and a friend running two mid-distance teams.
“Hopefully March pans out and brings us some good snow and winter weather,” Jen Freking said. “That would be nice. I’m looking forward to the Beargrease in March, but I guess I won’t hold my breath.”
The Beargrease first was run in 1980. It became an annual event in 1984. It has been postponed several times, and its start was moved at least twice — once to near Lake County 2 and once to Grand Portage — to find more snow.