Our View: Beargrease keeps moving forward with 26th running
At the celebration this week for the 25th anniversary of Duluth's Greater Downtown Council, former Indianapolis Mayor Bill Hudnut said downtowns need to keep moving -- and if they're not moving forward they're moving backward. His well-received m...
At the celebration this week for the 25th anniversary of Duluth's Greater Downtown Council, former Indianapolis Mayor Bill Hudnut said downtowns need to keep moving -- and if they're not moving forward they're moving backward. His well-received message to be willing to evolve and to change with the times can be applied far beyond downtowns, of course.
Even to dog races.
Consider the already long-popular John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon. Despite being one of the Northland's premiere annual events, the race will change in profound ways this year. The course will be longer. Rest time for mushers and dogs will be shorter. And teams will be allowed more dogs at the outset.
Marathon officials messed with success to emphasize the importance of sled-dog racing strategy. The result should be a far more interesting marathon and more engaged race watchers.
In his keynote address at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, Hudnut also urged Duluth's downtown business owners, residents and others to "be who you are."
Those are words also being embodied by the Beargrease. The 26th running will again feature frigid nighttime temperatures; excited dogs yapping and pulling, their puffs of breath floating on the frosty air; a requirement for mushers to stop and pay respects at John Beargrease's gravesite in Beaver Bay; excited countdowns at Ordean School to send the teams down the trail; and the muffled applause of hundreds of mittens at the finish line. The popular cutest puppy contest is back, too, scheduled for noon tomorrow at Fitger's. Opening ceremonies take place at 7 p.m. tomorrow at Grandma's Sports Garden.
Gates open at noon Sunday at Ordean with the race start an hour later.
Best of luck to all participants, whether two-legged or four. Along with Duluth and its downtown, may they all keep moving forward.