John Beargrease Marathon
March 08, 2002
John Beargrease was a Chippewa Indian who delivered mail using sled dogs along Lake Superior's icy shores during winter in the 1890s. The above photo shows the start of this year's John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon Race, last Sunday. This race usually runs across 411 miles (658 km) of northern Minnesota, and it was postponed this winter for the first time in its 20 year history. It's usually held in early February, but too little snow and warm temperatures turned mushers into slushers. From November through February, temperatures in northern Minnesota were nearly 10 degrees F (6 C) above normal, and through January, snowfall was about 75% below normal. Fortunately, there was just enough snow this week for the dogs and sleds to race on. The race was shortened to 300 miles (480 km) to accommodate the less than desirable conditions.