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John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon 2017
The 33rd running of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon follows a 319-mile course that begins at the Alger Grade gravel pit on Lake County Highway 2, about eight miles north of Two Harbors. The hoopla starts at noon, when fans are given the chance to meet the mushers and their dog teams, purchase official race merchandise, purchase food and take in the race atmosphere. The first mid-distance teams leave the starting chute at 2 p.m., followed by the marathon teams.
The Beargrease is the longest dog sled race in the lower 48 and is a qualifier for the famed “Iditarod” in Alaska. Over a dozen world-class mushers compete in the full distance marathon, with over two dozen in the mid-distance race. All competitors are vying for one of 20 cash prizes totaling $30,000. Both races will traverse the Sawtooth Mountains in Cook County, going as far north as Gunflint Lake near the Canadian border. Visitors can also look forward to the Beargrease cutest puppy (photo) contest.
The Beargrease marathon will start just outside of Two Habors, then head to the Trail Center on the Gunflint Trail and back, while the shorter, mid-distance race goes one-way on the route. The marathon typically takes five days to complete. Close to 500 volunteers from around the country come together each winter to assure the event happens. For more race details and a map, visit beargrease.com.