Canceled Beargrease called heart-wrenching

Reaction to canceled Beargrease

Local news, sports, weather presented by the WDIO News Team

The 40th running of the John Beargrease sled dog marathon has been canceled for 2024.

The iconic Northland event usually happens the last weekend of January, but the race’s board of directors decided Tuesday night to cancel it due to inadequate snow accumulation across the arrowhead of Minnesota.

The 300-mile marathon course runs from Duluth to Grand Portage, but the conditions were deemed unsafe for the dogs and mushers.

Teams prepare all year for the beargrease so you can imagine the disappointment among the mushing community. We spoke with veteran musher Colleen Wallin from Two Harbors. She placed in the top ten in last year’s beargrease. She said this news is heart-wrenching for mushers. Other races have also been cancelled, like the Gunflint mail run and the Minnetonka Klondike derby. Wallin says when you have elite athletes like these dogs are, it’s a shame to not continue training and running. So she and her team are now planning to travel to find places for her dogs to race.

“We’re looking to the U.P. 200 over in Marquette, Michigan that goes from Marquette to Grand Marais, Michigan and then back. Then we’re going to take a look at maybe the Canadian Challenge, and also the CAN/AM 250 out in Maine.”

Wallin says when we eventually do get some good lake ice, she and her family will take the dogs out and do some winter camping and maybe catch some lake trout and look forward to the 40th running of the beargrease on January 26th of 2025.