30th John Beargrease race only a week away

By KBJR News 1

January 19, 2014 Updated Jan 19, 2014 at 11:53 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com)

"Four, three, two, one!" chanted the crowd to start the 2010 Beargrease Race.

The John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon is a thirty plus year tradition in the Northland.

"Just looking at all the mushers and the time and energy they put into it. It's fun to watch them through the week competing to see who ends up being the winner." said retired Duluth teacher Barb Hill at the 2010 race start.

This year, the race was almost cancelled until a new board of directors took over headed by former KBJR 6 and Range 11 anchorman Jason Rice.
Rice is a three time veteran of the mid distance Beargrease himself.

"The race was 125 miles and I'm telling you, I don't think I've ever been that sore in my life." said Rice on Sunday while standing on the race trail.

This year's race is on and it will take off this coming Sunday from its old location in Duluth's Lakeside neighborhood.

"The start is actually on Greyhound Drive in the middle of the East High School campus so it is very appropriate it starts on a road named after a dog; a fast dog." said Rice.

The competition this year should be fierce as three past champions go head to head and dog nose to nose.

"Blake Freking, Keith Aili is back, multi–year champion and the same with Nathan Schroeder, the defending champion from last year and himself a two time champion." said Rice.

"Jason Rice tells us this year's race will be mostly regional mushers. This hilly terrain tends to keep the Iditarod racers away." said reporter Dave Anderson on a part of the race trail overlooking a series of hills.

But, Rice hopes they'll be lured back in the future as the Beargrease continues to rebuild under new management.

"I think we have a great event, a great series of events this year. It's not just surviving, it is going to thrive this year."

In Duluth, Dave Anderson, KBJR 6 and Range 11.

The 30th running of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon will begin Sunday at 1 pm.
The starting line can be at East High School on 40th Avenue East and Superior Street.