"A Magic Carpet Ride:" Ryan Redington Wins Beargrease

Baihly Warfield
Updated: January 31, 2018 11:38 AM

Ryan Redington of Wasilla, Alaska is the winner of the 34th Annual Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon. He and his team of nine dogs crossed the finish line at Billy's in Duluth around 5 a.m. Wednesday.

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"I think we won by a big margin, and there's a lot of good dog teams. That team of mine just got stronger from the halfway point on," Redington said. "It was just a magic carpet ride."

Redington left the final Two Harbors checkpoint after a mandatory rest just before 1 a.m. He made the last leg in a quick four hours. 

"There were times when I was going 13, 14 miles an hour," Redington said. "I was like, we are going way too fast. We've got to slow it down some."

He carried his lead dogs in the sled for the first leg of the race to slow his team down. That's something he learned from last year. 

"It isn't won in that first 100 miles, but it could be lost if you go too fast," he said. 

It was tough for Rumba and Archer, his lead dogs. But in the end, they earned their victory flowers. 

"They're the two smallest dogs on the team," Redington said. "They just want to go fast all the time, and they're super smart. And it's just a phenomenal pair of dogs that work super well together." 

The Alaska native breaks a seven-year streak of Ryan Anderson and Nathan Schroeder trading victories. Anderson followed Redington in about three hours later, at 8 a.m. 

"I came into the race not expecting to win," Anderson said. "I kind of figured Ryan was going to have a team this year to win."

Anderson's own team, he said, had too many older dogs past their prime. He said the speed Redington maintained was impressive. 

"Even if I would have done anything different, I wouldn't have caught him," Anderson said. 

Canadian Denis Tremblay finished third, followed by Colleen Wallin, Nathan Schroeder and Blake Freking. 

Redington said he is already thinking about next year's Beargrease. But first, he'll compete in his 11th Iditarod in March. 


Baihly Warfield

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