The Race Must Go On

      The 25th running of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon will not happen as scheduled in 2007, but something will happen in its place.  The Beargrease was postponed and then cancelled altogether due to the lack of snow in Duluth, MN .  The Beargrease Board of Directors decided it wouldn’t be “fair” to the sponsors to run the race entirely in a remote area so they cancelled it.  What the Board may have forgotten is the 25 year strong tradition isn’t just about the sponsors; it’s about the mushers, the volunteers, the dogs, and the spectators.

     While running a race in a remote area may not give sponsors the biggest bang for their buck, it doesn’t seem to make all that big of a difference to everyone else.  The Gunflint Trail is a remote area that has traditionally been a part of the Marathon and there is plenty of snow to accommodate a race this year. 

     Keeping in step with the tradition is what the Beargrease is all about.  John Beargrease delivered the mail and that is why the Marathon began.  The race must go on just like the unofficial motto of the United States Postal Service says, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.  A sled dog race will happen in Northeastern Minnesota in 2007, it just won’t be the official Beargrease.

   This year instead of racing as scheduled from Duluth, MN mushers will race on the Gunflint Trail.  There are already thirty teams interested in participating in the one day event as well as many volunteers to help coordinate the race.  Sarah Hamilton, owner of Trail Center on the Gunflint Trail is no stranger to dog racing or the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon.  Her business has been a rest stop for the marathon and she along with many others wants to see the tradition of the sled dog race continue this year.  With the help of eager volunteers and business owners on the Gunflint Trail there will be a dog sled race on Sunday, February 25th, and it will happen on the Gunflint Trail.       

     Race aficionados, mushers, dogs and volunteers get ready for a sled dog race on the Gunflint Trail.  The prizes may not be as big as the Beargrease, the media coverage will surely be small, but the hearts of the people involved will be big. After all, sled dog racing isn’t about the money, it’s all about passion, a passion that can only be found in the hearts of those who love mushing.  The people on the Gunflint Trail love mushing, so with open arms and welcome hearts there will be a dog sled race on Sunday, February 25th, 2007.