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Two Generations of Wallins Racing in the Beargrease

Baihly Warfield
Updated: January 22, 2020 10:26 PM

For most families in the sled dog world, mushing isn't just a sport. It's a lifestyle -- one that the Wallin family has embraced. 

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They live on acres of land in Silver Creek Township, just north of Two Harbors. And two of them are training for Beargrease races

"It's like a gift," Colleen Wallin said. "Like I get to run dogs Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday." 

She is running the full 295-mile marathon. Her 17-year-old son Ero is doing the 120-mile junior mid-distance. 

"I started mushing ever since I could probably reach the handlebars," Ero said. 

Last year, he ran the mid-distance and placed third among the teens.

"He decided he's going to run the Beargrease, but he said to me, 'Mom, if you're going to worry or be scared or be concerned about me out there at all, I'm not going to do it,'" Colleen remembered. "And I said, 'OK.' He goes, 'I got this.'" 

Colleen said that cleared her mind of worry. She felt confident Ero could handle it. But she didn't get to see him cross the finish line. 

"People took videos," she said. "Ward (Wallin) was at the finish line for him, so I watched him finish while I'm still hitting the trails. It's just cool."

Her passion continues to inspire her son. 

"She's been a great role model," Ero said, "and watching her race every year and get in the checkpoints every time, just try to keep her spirits up, that's always kept my spirits up, especially when I started racing."

The two love to train together, especially on the long runs. 

"We'll do some back-to-back 60s, back-to-back 50s. Back-to-back meaning one day, the next day, and then a few days off with rest," Colleen explained. 

On those rest days, the Wallins might discuss which dogs will be on which team. They said it normally doesn't result in any fights. 

"Maybe some heated discussions," Colleen said, "but usually no fights, no." 

Ero typically takes the younger dogs who aren't quite ready for the full 295 miles. The older and more experienced ones end up on Colleen's team. 

They won't see much of each other once they're putting in the race miles. But they say it's a blessing just to know they're out there together. 

"We're a good team, huh?" Colleen asked Ero. "Yeah." 

Credits

Baihly Warfield

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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