We Love Our

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 500 volunteers are needed each year 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


Volunteer Meeting Schedule


Piedmont Elementary School – 2827 Chambersberg Ave. Duluth, MN
January 11 • 6:30 PM



Year-round Opportunities

In the months leading up to the race, we frequently need help from trusted volunteers with a variety of skill sets. Needs range from media and PR, marketing,  event organizing and planning, graphic design, and a wide range of tasks.  Business and organizational skills are especially helpful.

If you have time, energy and a willingness to help out during the year please send an email to us at volunteer@beargrease.com.

Race Week Volunteer Opportunities

  • Road Crossings: Whether a returning road crossing volunteer or new, welcome! Road crossing volunteers are vital to the safety of the race… your dedication and willingness is much appreciated!
  • Dog Crews at the Start: If you want to “get your hands dirty,” our dog crew chief is looking for your help. This is a great way to meet some of the mushers and get hands-on experience handling racing dogs at the start of the race. Volunteers will assist mushers with moving their dog teams from the dog truck to the starting line. Volunteers should be bundled up in warm clothes and have the ability to run while holding a gangline of very excited dogs. You will be placed on a team of volunteers and assigned to several mushers who you will help get along with their teams of dogs to the starting line.
  • Start Area: Volunteers at the start will preform a variety of tasks related to the smooth operation of the start including setup and tear down.
  • 120 Finish: Help congratulate the Beargrease 120 mushers on finishing the race!
  • Marathon Finish: Be one of the first to watch the top racers cross the finish line and stick around to help the Red Lantern wrap up the race!

Frequently Asked Questions

There are many places to stay along the North Shore.  We typically post our sponsoring lodging locations as they become available.  Check out our Tourism Sections for information on the 3 distinct regions of our race. 

Our race is greatly impacted by Lake Superior, one of the largest fresh water lakes in the world. If it snows a few days before or during the race, it will slow the trail conditions down.  But if it rains? It’s possible the trail could be freaky-fast!

The Beargrease Marathon starts on Sunday and a winner is usually declared on Tuesday late afternoon or early evening in Grand Portage. 

The Beargrease 120 starts on Sunday and a winner crosses the finish line early Monday morning in Finland, MN.

The Beargrease  40 starts on Sunday and ends on Sunday in Two Harbors, MN. 

The race starts in Duluth, MN and travels through many northern Minnesota Communities.  The Marathon ends in Grand Portage, MN; the Beargrease 120 ends in Finland, MN; and the Beargrease 40 ends in Two Harbors, MN. 

YES! Our mushers and canine athletes love to meet their fans!  Two great times to get up close: Vet Checks (take place the Saturday prior to the start.) and early morning on Sunday as the teams are preparing for the race.  REMEMBER, always ask a musher if you can pet their canines, they are working dogs and might be in “race mode” and not feeling social.  (Yes — these dogs know the difference between a training run and race day!) 

Nope!! All of our race events are FREE, open to the public and family-friendly.  We rely on donations and sponsors to keep our race alive. 

Every volunteer shift is different.  Some shifts are a couple of hours indoor and some are 12 hours outdoors.  We try to make it as fun as possible and there are so many opportunities available–there is something for everyone!

ADA-trained Service Animals specifically trained to aid a person with a disability are always welcome!

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.