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Updated: Ryan Anderson wins fourth Beargrease title

Feb 01, 2022 04:37PM ● By Editor

WDIO-TV interviews Ryan Anderson here

Ryan Anderson's team crosses the finish line, winning the 2022 John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon. |  Photo: Baihly Warfield/WDIO

From Baihly Warfield from WDIO-TV - February 1, 2022

Ryan Anderson has won his fourth John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon title. He is the third person to win four times, tying Jamie Nelson and Nathan Schroeder.

Anderson finished the 302-mile race with nine dogs.   He adds the 2022 title to his wins in 2017, 2015, and 2011. He also won the Beargrease 120 in 2019.

Anderson left the final Mineral Center checkpoint with an hour lead

Anderson left the final Mineral Center checkpoint with an hour lead.  Photo; Baihly Warfield/WDIO

Ryan Anderson takes booties off his team at Trail Center checkpoint.  Photo: Baihly Warfield, WDIO

Anderson said winning his fourth Beargrease was his goal.

"When I started training this fall, I really wanted to win this race this year. So, I spent a lot of time thinking and analyzing and preparing the team as best I could," Anderson said.

He had taken the 2021 race off after his wife had their second child. 

"I missed racing dogs a lot," he said. "It means a lot to me, and the wife said go ahead and race."

The 2022 Beargrease saw 13 teams scratch this year. Beargrease officials say warm temperatures and "punchy" snow made it too difficult to keep running. Anderson said he was trying to hold his team back due to the conditions.

"This is just really a talented, strong, fast team," Anderson said. "I was actually managing their speed, trying to slow them down. Until the last 20 miles coming into Skyport, is the only time I ever asked anything of this dog team. Ultimately they were going under the pace that this dog team could do."

"Slow for this team, is actually pretty fast," Anderson said.

Anderson is from Cushing, Wis. He and his wife have 35 dogs and two kids.

The top finishers are: 

  1. Ryan Anderson
  2. Wade Marrs
  3. Colleen Wallin
  4. Ero Wallin
  5. Erin Altemus

Monday night, seven Beargrease mushers scratched from the 2022 Beargrease race, bringing the total number who have dropped out to 10. Race officials say warm temperatures and punchy snow made it too difficult to keep running.

Two notable scratches include Erin Letzring, the 2021 champion and leader as of Monday night, and Nathan Schroeder, a four-time champion.

Other teams who dropped out overnight are:

  • Kevin Mathis
  • Nick Vigilante
  • Katherine Langlais
  • Laura Neese
  • Jesse Terry

Two-time champion Ryan Redington also scratched Monday night, and Mary Manning and John Fisher dropped out earlier Monday.

According to the Beargrease Facebook page:

Here are some answers to the questions about why mushers are scratching.
In short, it's because of the warm temps and snow conditions. Each musher is making decisions based on the health of their team. 

The warm temperatures, it's 31ยบ here right now, make the snow conditions harder to run in. Or as the mushers say, the snow is "punchy", aka not hard and packed down. They equate it to like running through mashed potatoes.

Many teams who are still running have run conservatively thus far and will continue to monitor the health of their team.

Ryan Anderson held a good lead, arriving at the final Mineral Point checkpoint around 9 a.m. Monday morning, where he has to rest for at least four hours before running the last 31 miles to the finish.

To see the WDIO-TV Report and race updates, follow this link to their website.
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