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Video: Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon will mush on without spectators

Jan 25, 2021 09:01AM ● By Editor

Watch the WDIO-TV Report here

Two of Jen Freking's dogs rest after a snack at a checkpoint.  Photo: Baihly Warfield/WDIO

By Baihly Warfield from WDIO-TV - January 24, 2021

It's been a year of cancellations. But running sled dogs is a naturally socially distant sport. 

And this year, the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon will take extra care to keep its distance by not allowing spectators at the start, any of the checkpoints or the finish. 

"Just our mushers, our handlers, our race officials, we're up near that 250-300 person mark," race spokesperson Monica Hendrickson said. 

Mushers are generally people who are OK without the crowds and chatter. But still Hendrickson said it's been hard to make adjustments. 

WDIO will live stream the race's start and finish and provide live reports along the way. Particularly at the start, this year may look different. 

"When you're watching at home, you're not going to see kind of that fast-paced movement because we do need that little extra time to keep everyone safe," Hendrickson explained. "We're having to have more time between mushers." 

It's a big field in 2021, with more than 70  mushers registered between three races. 

If you'll miss the excitement and want to give the dogs a virtual pat, Hendrickson suggests making a contribution toward straw. 

"Our most important thing of course is safety and safety with our dogs and safety with our vet team. We have a lot of vet expenses. And straw is actually one of the most expensive things that we have this year," she said. 

Many other races were canceled, but the Beargrease will find a way to mush on. 

"The mission of our race is to support the culture of it and the reason for it. It was very important to our region, and we want to continue that tradition and be able to let them run and let the dogs do what they love to do." 

To see the original story and read related reports, follow this lin to the WDIO-TV website.

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