Dogs and mushers scaling back training for upcoming Beargrease Race

By KBJR News 1

January 20, 2014 Updated Jan 20, 2014 at 7:30 PM CST

Wrenshall, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- With the Beargrease sled dog race at the end of the week, many mushers and their dogs are wrapping up their training.

125 miles to run in the Half Marathon and 400 Miles to run in the Full, it's not easy to prepare for such a long run that is the Beargrease Sled Dog Race. But as the race grows closer, the miles left to run are fewer.

"This week we'll do really short runs. We'll just do probably like five miles with them. I'll take out my team that I'm going to be using for the bear grease. I'll take them out and just do a couple runs with them." Said local musher, Billie Diver.

Billie has been sled dog racing since she was seven years old and preparing for the big race involves a lot of hydration and high quality food for her dogs as well as some physical therapy.

"It's just like a runner, your legs get sore after a long run, so they can't really stretch their muscles on their own and so we like to rub them down for them, especially their shoulders and chest muscles get really sore." Said Diver.

The race is drawing people from all over the country to compete. For example, Andrew Heskin found it to be a little to warm in Ashland, Oregon, so he and his dogs have made their way to the Northland.

"It's been a little too warm this year to run dogs, so I got here a little early to Minnesota to train and what I've found is an incredibly supportive community here." Said Musher, Andrew Heskin.

And learning from the current generation of sled dog mushers is a new generation of mushers.

"Gee means right and hull means left." Said young musher, Atianah.

Seven year old Atianah will be racing her first cub race on Saturday.

"So, you don't let go and you do get dragged a couple times, but if you get dragged you still can't let go." Said Atianah.

Events for the Beargrease Sled Dog Race kick off this Friday with opening ceremonies on Saturday and the big race on Sunday.

Bryce Henry
bhenry@kbjr.com