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The John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon

Come experience the premier long-distance sled dog race of the lower 48 and Northern Minnesota’s top winter attraction!

Beargrease 2022 | January 30 – February 2

Presented by our Generous Sponsors:

Duluth Trading Co.
KQDS Radio
My 95.7
WDIO ABC

Meet the 2022 Beargrease Mushers

Meet the amazing people behind the dogs! We are proud to host Minnesota locals as well as mushers from around the world! Read musher bios from the Beargrease Marathon, Beargrease 140, Beargrease 120 Junior Class, and Beargrease 40 races!

Blake Freking

Small introduction to bio goes here. Click to read more…

Ero Wallin

Small introduction to bio goes here. Click to read more…

Mrs. Freking

Small introduction to bio goes here. Click to read more…

Erin Letzring

Small introduction to bio goes here. Click to read more…

North America’s Premier Sled Dog Race Series

For over 40 years, the Minnesota’s North Shore comes alive with the excitement of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon race, which celebrates and honors the spirit of John Beargrease and brings thousands of worldwide spectators and hundreds of mushers from across the nation.

The series features several races, including the longest sled dog marathon in the lower 48 states, each race requiring mushers to fend off Minnesota’s extreme winter weather and rugged terrain. Join us for the 2022 event, kicking off on January 30, from the comfort of your own home or in person!

Buy Tickets to the Beargrease

Beargrease Mushers: Register Now!

Musher registration ends 00/00/0000. Don’t wait: become part of history!

Don’t miss the raw beauty of Minnesota’s North Shore

The northern lights as seen from some state park

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More about some state park >

Snowshoeing on some trail

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More about snowshoeing in MN >

Snowmobiling on some trail

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More about snowmobiling in MN >

Skipping stones in a lake

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More about skipping stones in MN >

Lake County Visitors Guide

Sponsor ad content goes here. Come experience beautiful Lake County. We know you’ll love it!

Local eats and drinks unique to Minnesota’s North Shore

Sponsored Content

Bent-Paddle-Brewing
Local Minnesota beer at Bent Paddle Brewing Co.

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More about Bent Paddle

trestle-inn
Enjoy local food at the unique and historic Trestle Inn

Info here about Trestle Inn and how they sponsor Beargrease and what it’s like to go have a beer at their brewery. Filler text here lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nulla cursus tristique aliquam.

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billys
Hearty Meals for cold weather at Billy’s

Info here about Billy’s and how they sponsor Beargrease and what it’s like to go have a beer at their brewery. Filler text here lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nulla cursus tristique aliquam.

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rustic-inn
Fresh, locally-sourced food at the Rustic Inn Cafe

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More about Rustic Inn Cafe

What to expect when you come see the Beargrease Marathon

Watching the Beargrease is not for the faint of heart. Neither is it for dress shoes, fancy clothes, makeup, or showers (we’re only half joking). Watching the race or volunteering involves spending hours outside in the harshest weather that Northern Minnesota can offer.

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Who was John Beargrease?

John Beargrease

John Beargrease was pivotal in the development of the entire north shore and the communities who have maintained their foothold there over the past century.

John Beargrease was born in Beaver Bay, Minnesota in 1858, the son of an Anishinabe Chief, Moquabimetem. The family lived in a traditional wigwam on the edge of the first settlement on Minnesota’s North Shore; Beaver Bay. They survived through their traditional native practices of hunting, fishing and trapping.

By the time John Beargrease was in his twenties, the North Shore had become home to numerous small settlements of fishing families which had planted themselves in the many coves of Lake Superior’s rocky shoreline.

Lake Superior’s North Shore was then and is now, subject to severe temperature changes, heavy rainfall and violent storms and travel in the area was extremely difficult despite the influx of settlers. This lead to limited communication with the outside world at a time when most other parts of the country were receiving regular mail delivery.

John Beargrease and his brothers were avid hunters and trappers and made regular trips to the region along their well-established Lake Shore Trail trap line. Recognizing the opportunity, John and his brothers picked up the job of delivering the mail by simply tossing a mailbag or two into existing packs.

For almost twenty years, between 1879 and 1899, John Beargrease and his brothers delivered the mail between Two Harbors and Grand Marais. Through the seasons, the Beargrease brothers used a variety of methods to transport the mail including canoes, horses and large boats. John Beargrease himself was best known for his winter travels by dogsled.

With his successful delivery, the population and economy stabilized and permanent towns made their mark on the landscape. Today we celebrate the vital role of John Beargrease in the early history of the North Shore of Lake Superior through the annual running of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon.

More about John Beargrease

The “goodest” dogs
Need your help

What a sled dog looks forward to most after a long day of racing is a nice bed of straw! But guess what happened at last year’s race? Someone stole all our straw right before the race start! Thankfully, great fans like you helped us out during the final hour to provide this vital supply for our amazing dogs.

These dogs simply are the best – and we want to be able to continue treating them that way! Donations from fans like you make that possible. Would you find it in your heart to help us out? No amount is too small in sled dog world!

Introducing “Voluntourism”

Never heard of it before? It means to tour a new place by volunteering, and the Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon is the event to “voluntour”.

Volunteers are a vital part of organizing and facilitating the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon. In the past years, many interesting people from all over the nation have done their part to make the Beargrease a great experience. Some volunteers provide warmth and good cheer at the checkpoints with warm food and big bonfires. Others camp out at road crossings to assist teams safely across a variety of roads along the way. We have volunteers assisting the mushers to get their teams to the starting line, setting everything up, running headquarters, helping with banquets, and many other roles that make this North America’s Premier Sled Dog Race Series!

Nearly 1,000 volunteers are needed by race time to ensure this event runs smoothly and safely. There are volunteer opportunities for everyone, from those who have experience with sled dog races to those who just LOVE dogs and community events! All areas of the race need volunteers, especially the starting area and various checkpoints.

“I’ve been volunteering for the Beargrease for 10 years now and I couldn’t imagine life without it! The positive energy of the dogs, the people, and the sport are what bring me back year after year.”

– Timothy Thomas,
Checkpoint Volunteer

“The mission of the John Beargrease Sled Dog marathon is to conduct the best long distance sled dog race in North America in a culturally sensitive manner, and to promote the sport of dog mushing.”

We Are Leaders in
Animal Welfare

Animal welfare has been the single most important aspect of this event from its inception. We believe that all dogs are entitled to adequate and balanced nutrition; all dogs deserve humane handling, respect, and care from their owners; and all dogs deserve adequate regular exercise.

The relationship between sled dogs and humans is one of the oldest bonds of its kind. The Beargrease is proud of its role in helping to enhance this bond by continuing to uphold the virtue that no dog will be allowed to run beyond its natural ability. The Beargrease is sanctioned by the International Sled Dog Veterinary Medical Association (ISDVMA) and is run under its guidelines.

We continue to be a leader in animal welfare in the mushing community. If we are ever to make a decision regarding race safety, it will be in favor of the dogs.

Read our official beargrease policy

Adventure Awaits on Minnesota’s North Shore

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Sponsored By

Investing in the Next Generation

We believe that dogsledding is such a beautiful sport, and we are determined to pass that legacy on to the next generation, but we can’t do it alone! Our “mushing kids” learn many valuable lessons from working with their dogs and achieving remarkable goals.

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Donate to the future of beargrease Today!

Frequently Asked Questions

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Congratulations to our 2021 Marathon Winner: Erin Letzring

FINISH TIME: 32:43:35

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2020 Ryan Redington
2019 Blake FrekinG
2018 Ryan Redington

Thankfully You Don’t Have to Wait For a Dogsled to Get Your Mail These Days

Stay up-to-date with the latest Beargrease news; winter isn’t the only time we have fun!
Find out how to be involved in the Beargrease year-around.

Support the Beargrease

Thankfully You Don’t Have to Wait For a Dogsled to Get Your Mail These Days

Stay up-to-date with the latest Beargrease news; winter isn’t the only time we have fun!
Find out how to be involved in the Beargrease year-around.