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Beargrease sled dog rerouted, shortened for 2019

DULUTH--The longest sled dog race in the Lower 48 will be shortened about 75 miles, ending in Grand Portage instead of the outskirts of Duluth next year, organizers announced Friday, Sept. 21.

Ryan Redington, who finished second in last year's John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon, gives a thumbs-up to fans at the start of the race Sunday. Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com
Ryan Redington, who finished second in last year's John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon, gives a thumbs-up to fans at the start of the race Sunday. Steve Kuchera / skuchera@duluthnews.com
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DULUTH-The longest sled dog race in the Lower 48 will be shortened about 75 miles, ending in Grand Portage instead of the outskirts of Duluth next year, organizers announced Friday, Sept. 21.

The 2019 John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon will start at Billy's Bar in Rice Lake and end at Grand Portage Lodge and Casino with a shortened distance of 300 miles. In years past, teams started near Two Harbors, ran to Grand Portage and then raced back down to the finish line at Billy's.

The mandatory number of dogs will drop from 14 to 12 as well.

"The reality is that mushers are signing up for shorter races that they can run fewer dogs in, especially earlier in the mushing season," Beargrease board member Frank Moe said in a news release.

The decision to shorten the race for its 35th year was announced this spring following a debriefing with the mushers who participated earlier this year - four out of 10 of whom did not finish.

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The full marathon, the mid-distance 120-mile race and the recreational 40-miler will start Jan. 27, a Sunday. The marathon is expected to end Jan. 29.

Related Topics: TWO HARBORS
Brooks Johnson was an enterprise/investigative reporter and business columnist at the Duluth News Tribune from 2016 to 2019.
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