ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Beargrease preparations in full swing

Only the sled dogs will get much rest this week as mushers get ready for the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon and race officials face a busy few days of preparation.

Only the sled dogs will get much rest this week as mushers get ready for the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon and race officials face a busy few days of preparation.
Late entries, requests for banquet tickets and calls from the media and other people with questions keep the Beargrease office busy as race weekend approaches.
By late Monday, there were 31 mushers signed up for the Beargrease 150, and nine had entered the marathon.
Race coordinator Alex Angelos said he expected a couple more drivers in each class before the Feb. 1 cutoff. Most of the mushers are from the Midwest, with the exception of Pedro "Gato" Curuchet from Tierra Del Fuego, Argentina.
After the Beargrease, Curuchet will race the Iditarod in Alaska.
Mushers in the 150 can start with six to eight dogs, while mushers in the marathon can leave with 12 to 16 dogs in harness. The 150 class will race from Duluth to Sawbill. The marathon class will race from Duluth to Poplar Lake, then down to Beaver Bay and back to the finish line at Lester Park.
Having the finish back in Duluth sets the 2001 Beargrease apart from other races in recent years, said Angelos. It also puts the trail at about 415 miles. A lack of snow the past few years forced organizers to shorten the race and end it in different locations.
Both races will start Sunday at Ordean School. Activities start about noon. The 150 will begin at 1 p.m., with the marathon starting at 3 p.m. Angelos suggested people come early for good parking and a chance to meet the mushers. Spectators are asked to bring a canned good for the food shelf.
From Ordean, the teams go to the Prime Time at Jean Duluth and West Tischer roads before heading to the checkpoint on Highway 2 near Two Harbors and then up the North Shore. Teams are expected to arrive back in Lester Park starting about 8 p.m. Wednesday.
The public is invited to watch the Saturday vet check. Each dog running in either event will be examined by veterinarians. In all, the race will use a team of 15 veterinarians and three assistants.
The vet check will be held from 7:30 a.m. to noon at Black Woods Restaurant on London Road.
The race banquet and drawing for starting positions on Friday night at Lakeview Castle is also open to the public. Call 722-7631 for information.

What To Read Next
The system crashed earlier this month, grounding flights across the U.S.