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Beargrease cuts its distance.

May 19, 2018 07:49AM ● By Editor
John Beargrease mid-distance racer Alex LaPlante crosses Poplar Lake and nears the finish line shortly after sunrise February 1, 2016. (file / News Tribune)

By Brady Slater of the Duluth News Tribune -May 17, 2018 

In an effort to attract more mushers and infuse new energy into their event, organizers of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon have agreed to shorten the iconic winter race which skirts the North Shore and evokes a historic mail route.

The race's board of directors voted unanimously this week to make the 2019 race between 290-300 miles — down from this year's 373.

Details of the new course and the likelihood of making Beargrease a 12-dog race instead of 14 dogs per team are still to be decided, organizers said.

The impetus for the change was the post-race mushers meeting following the 2018 race, which saw six finishers among only 10 entrants in the marathon race. Mushers recommended to the board that it make the race more attractive to participants by making it shorter.

"The goal is to get more teams to sign up and more teams to the finish," said board member Frank Moe. "(Mushers) want to see the race grow and the numbers have been pretty stagnant for quite a few years now."

To read more about this story, follow this link to the Duluth News Tribune.