Sad news for mushers of the long running Beargrease Marathon has been cancelled for 2014.
John Beargrease sled dog race canceled due to financial woes
by Dan Kraker, Minnesota Public Radio
DULUTH, Minn. — Organizers of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon in northeast Minnesota have canceled this winter’s race.
Race director Pat Olson said organizers haven’t secured the sponsorships needed to put on the event, which costs about $50,000. The race runs 400 miles from Duluth, up the North Shore, and back again.
“In order for us to continue to remain healthy, we just really needed to make this decision,” she said.
Olson said the weather is partly to blame for the race’s financial woes. Organizers had to cancel the race in 2011 because of lack of snow. Last year they had to delay it until March.
“It’s been too warm for those mushers to be out there training their dogs, getting the miles on their dogs that are needed to complete this race,” she said.
This year would have marked the 30th anniversary of the race. It celebrates an Ojibwe man named John Beargrease who carried mail by dogsled between Two Harbors and Grand Marais in the late 1800s.
In coming years, organizers will consider shortening the race or moving it to later in the winter.
Olson hopes to raise money and renew excitement for the race during the year off.
“Let’s see if we can get the sponsors’ enthusiasm back, and get some money in the door,” she said.