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Ryan Redington claims his second John Beargrease Marathon crown

Jan 28, 2020 04:42PM ● By Editor

Watch the WDIO-TV Report here

Redington and his team crossed the finish line of the Beargrease Marathon in Grand Portage. Images:  Qrill Pet Arctic Series

By Baihly Warfield of WDIO-TV - January 29, 2020

Musher Ryan Redington is the first to cross the finish line for the 2020 Beargrease marathon, claiming his second title. 

“It felt good, yep,” Redington said. “Very happy. 

He left the final Mineral Center checkpoint at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday with seven dogs on his team. He crossed the finish line around 4:37 p.m. He was followed about 20 minutes later by Keith Aili.

The final stretch of trail between Mineral Center and Grand Portage is 40 miles.

Redington left Mineral Center first in 2019 too, but his dogs slowed and Blake Freking passed him to win the race. Redington ended up arriving at the Grand Portage finish in sixth. He said the key to getting there first this year was atttitude. 

“Just keep positive, keep loving on the dogs,” he said. “And everything turned out really well.” 

He credits a lot of the success to his two lead dogs, Henry and Ghost. Both have run the Beargrease before. Redington said they love going fast. 

“They’re really in tune with me. And very smart on the commands, gee and ha. And they love passing teams, they’re very competitive. And they love being out front.” 

Keith Aili finished about 15 minutes behind Redington. The finish was especially sweet because he is also running a team of Redington dogs. 

“He’s a friend, and it’s helping him get ready for Iditarod because out of these two teams, then he’ll take his 14 for Iditarod,” Aili said. 

Redington also won the Beargrease in 2018. Aili won it in 2006. 

2020 Results

  1. Ryan Redington
  2. Keith Aili
  3. Ryan Anderson
  4. Martin Massicotte
  5. Colleen Wallin
  6. Nathan Schroeder
  7. Blake Freking

Redington congratulates his dogs - Henry and Ghost - on receiving the lead dog award.

 Redington carefully checks on each of his team's dogs immediately after the race. 

 Spectators cheered Redington's team finish in Grand Portage Tuesday afternoon.

The veteran musher has run several Beargrease races, winning in 2018.  Next race up for Redington will be the UP 200 in mid-February.

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