Races around the corner: final few Beargrease events promote fundraising, volunteer sign ups

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The John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon is right around the corner.

Leading up to race day, mushers, dogs and fans have been meeting up at local breweries to support the cause.

Last year, the starting lines had no onlookers due to COVID precautions. This year, spectators will be able to cheer on the athletes at the start and finish lines.

"It was really odd last year not having spectators when the dogs were taking off, it was eerily quiet," recalled Monica Hendrickson, Beargrease spokesperson. "We are really excited to have people back at the starting line. The dogs, they feed off that energy, the mushers feed off that energy– they have a big task ahead of them whether you’re running the 40 the 120 or the 300."

Musher Judas Bardon emphasizing the unique opportunity Beargrease offers to mushers and their canine companions.

"It’s just a really important connection between people and animals, going out there and having that symbiotic relationship where everyone is happy and having a moment together and the dogs just love it."

Monday night, people gathered at Ursa Minor brewery to meet the racers and support the hard work that goes into preparing for the journey.

"Its definitely a movement to get people to help out to get people outside," said Hendrickson. "We need a lot of volunteers! We need up to 400 volunteers every year."

And according to Beargrease officials, volunteers are still needed for this year’s races.

Those interested in volunteering can visit the Beargrease website to sign up.

The races begin on Sunday, January 30th at Billy’s Bar in Duluth.