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Finland MN native Blake Freking Wins 2019 Beargrease, Wife Jennifer is Runner-Up

Jan 29, 2019 08:28PM ● By Editor
Blake Freking congratulates one of his lead dogs, Eagle, at the finish line. |  Photo: Baihly Warfield/WDIO-TV

Baihly Warfield  from WDIO-TV - January 29, 2019

Blake Freking has won the 2019 Beargrease.

The musher and his team of 10 dogs rode across the Grand Portage finish line at 7:30 p.m. It is his second Beargrease one, but the last was in 2004.

Freking was in a strong second for the majority of the 300-mile race, but Ryan Redington's team appeared to have issues on the final stretch, and Freking passed him. 

Blake and Jen Freking and their two daughters pose for a photo after Jen finished in second

Blake and Jen Freking and their two daughters pose for a photo after Jen finished in second.  Photo:  Baihly Warfield/WDIO-TV

They ran through fierce wind and below zero temperatures to get to Grand Portage.

"There was a big clear cut that we went through, and it was blowing the sled sideways. I was kind of pedaling alongside the sled, and the sled was getting blown out from underneath my feet," Freking said. 

Despite the challenging conditions, Freking says his team looked great as they came through the finish. 

He gave the ceremonial "flowers" to Eagle, one of his lead dogs, who has led four Beargrease teams. And his 2019 team was a little different as many of the dogs were new to him. 

"I had two of our Siberians that we've run several races with," he said. "And then we had a group of dogs that came from the UP back in August."

His wife Jennifer Freking was the runner-up, coming in to Grand Portage at 9:20 p.m., two hours after her husband. 

2019 John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon finishers as of 10:15 p.m.:

  1. Blake Freking
  2. Jennifer Frekin
  3. Jason Rice
  4. Colleen Wallin
  5. Erin Altemus
  6. Ryan Redington

Watch the WDIO-TV report here

Boreal Ship Spotter - larger view here