With lack of snow, sled dog marathon start moved
DULUTH, Minn. -- Officials with the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon have announced that this year's race will start north of Two Harbors because of the lack of snow farther south.
DULUTH, Minn. -- Officials with the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon have announced that this year’s race will start north of Two Harbors because of the lack of snow farther south.
The race start, set for 2 p.m. Jan. 25, is being moved from its usual Duluth start.
Trail conditions farther up the North Shore are better, officials said. The race will end just outside of Duluth at Billy’s Bar, the traditional finish.
The new starting line will be located at what’s usually the race’s first checkpoint, about 8 miles north of Two Harbors. Race start activities will begin at noon Jan. 25 with chances for spectators to meet the mushers and dog teams. Teams in the mid-distance race will leave the starting chute beginning at 2 p.m., followed by marathon teams.
The race website on Wednesday listed 18 teams signed up for this year’s marathon event, and 27 teams for the mid-distance race.
The change of starting locations will reduce the marathon event to 319 miles from the usual course of about 375 miles, race officials said - but that still is long enough to allow mushers to qualify for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska.
This will be the third starting location change for the race in the past five years. In 2010, 2011 and 2013 (the 2012 race was canceled because of a lack of snow), the race started from a field just outside Duluth. In 2014, the race start returned to Duluth East High School, where it had been held for a number of years up until 2010 when the building was being renovated and expanded. That had been the slated start line for this year’s race until snow conditions forced the move to Two Harbors.
The second annual Cub Run for young mushers still is planned for 10 a.m. Jan. 24 on a 2-mile course at Black Bear Casino Resort near Carlton. Registration, vet checks and an opening ceremony also will be held at the casino on Jan. 24. The annual “cutest puppy” contest will be held Jan. 24 at the Fitger’s Brewery Complex in Duluth.
The Duluth airport has received about 28 inches of snow so far this winter. That’s about 14½ inches below normal, and more than 18 inches less than at this point last winter.
For more information, go to www.beargrease.com .