"It's going to be a good race": Mushers excited for John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon
DULUTH, Minn. -- As temperatures dip down to below-zero, there's a group of athletes who can't wait to get into the fresh, crisp air.
It's part of a world-class winter race on the North Shore. It's a race that's part athleticism, part pride, and part history lesson.
"My parents have been doing it since I was little. I just kind of grew up around the sport so here I am doing it now," said Ero Wallin from Silver Bay.
The race is named in honor of John Beargrease. He delivered mail by dog sled along the North Shore in the late 1800s.
This weekend, each of team will carry mail with them in his honor.
"It's a really tough race. The hills and competition are very good. The people from Minnesota are awesome. Yeah, it's going to be a good race," said Ryan Redington who came from Knik, Alaska.
Starting Sunday, dozens of teams will leave Duluth to make a grueling 300 mile trek up the North Shore.
These teams will push through the night only stopping at mandatory checkpoints where vets can take a look at the dogs, while they get a quick bite to eat.
The dogs don't just love the cold, they thrive in it. But there are a few outfit changes to help be race-ready: the dogs wear booties because snow balls gather on the bottom of their feet.
Their destination? Grand Portage, near the Canadian border. Teams will cross the finish sometime Wednesday evening.
The dog sled race brings in competitors from around the world.
WCCO-TV is heading to the race route to bring you updates on the mush teams and how the weather is helping or hurting them, starting Sunday.
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