It's that time of year once again for a fantastic Northland tradition! The 39th Running of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon is about to get underway and before the race even begins, everyone is invited to have fun at a series of related events.

The 2023 John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon begins at 10 am on Sunday, January 29 at Billy's Bar in Duluth, but the official race week event schedule actually begins for the public with a Cub Run on Saturday, January 21.

According to organizers, race week activities include:

Cub Run
Date: Saturday, January 21, 2023
Location: Lakeview National Golf Course, Two Harbors, MN
Details: 2-mile class or 1/4 mile beginner course
Time: 11:00 am musher check-in
The 2-mile class begins at 1:00 pm for the 2-mile class, 1/4 mile class starts no later than 2:30, or after the last 2-mile class musher leaves the chute, award ceremony follows
Note: No outside dogs are allowed.
*Pre-registration at beargrease.com required

Cutest Puppy Contest
Date: Saturday, January 28th, 2023
Location: FItger's, Duluth, MN (600 E Superior St)
Times: 10:00 am pre-registered puppy check-in
11:00 - 1:00 pm viewing/voting
1:30 pm awards
Note: No outside dogs allowed in the Fitger’s complex during the event
Pre-registration at beargrease.com is required (maximum of 40 puppies)

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Vet Checks
Date: Saturday, January 28, 2023
Location: Black Bear Casino Resort Golf Course Clubhouse, Carlton, MN
Times: 8 am - 12:30 meet the mushers and their dog teams as they participate in mandatory vet checks prior to the race, ask questions and learn about how sled dogs are taken care of before, during, and after the race.
Note: No outside dogs allowed

Huskie Teams Prepare For The 27th Aviemore Sled Dog Race
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Opening Ceremony
Date: Saturday, January 28, 2023
Location: Black Bear Casino Resort, Carlton, MN
Times: 3 pm Drum ceremony, the eulogy (John Beargrease), and land acknowledgment. A brief introduction from Board or race official and ceremonial bib draw (mushers receive their bibs, mailbags, and swag). Swearing in of the Marathon and 120 mushers as mail carriers.
Note: No outside dogs allowed

John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon Race Series Start
Date: Sunday, January 29, 2023
Location: Billy’s Bar, 3502 W. Tischer Rd., Duluth, MN 55803 (limited breakfast and lunch available from 7 am - 2:30 pm)
Parking: Limited first come, first served handicapped parking available at Billy’s. With limited parking available at the race start, please plan on riding the shuttle.

Free Shuttle pick up at:

  • UMD Campus - Junction Avenue and West College Street
  • 7:00 am-8:00 am - UMD to Billy’s
  • 8:00 am-12:30 pm - UMD to Billy’s
  • 12:30 pm- 2:30 pm - Billy’s to UMD

Times: 8 am Meet the Musher
9:45 am National Anthem and Pipe Ceremony
10:00 am First Marathon Musher leaves the starting chute followed by Beargrease 120 and Beargrease 40 mushers every 2 minutes (anticipated time for the last team to leave the start is 12:30 pm)
Note: No outside dogs allowed except service dogs

Beargrease 40 Finish
Date: Sunday, January 29, 2023
Location: Highway 2 Gravel Pit, Two Harbors, MN
Approximate Times: Teams will reach the finish between 3;00 pm and 7:00 pm (all times are approximate and subject to change based on weather, trail conditions, and musher strategy)

Beargrease 120 Finish
Date: Monday, January 30, 2023
Location: Trestle Inn, 9459 Highway 7, Finland, MN 55603
Approximate Times: Teams will reach the finish between 6:00 am to 12:00 pm (all times are approximate and subject to change based on weather, trail conditions, and musher strategy)

Marathon Finish
Date: Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Location: Grand Portage Lodge and Casino, 70 Casino Drive, Grand Portage, MN
Approximate Times: Teams will reach the finish between 5:00 pm and 10:00 pm (all times are approximate and subject to change based on weather, trail conditions, and musher strategy)

As for the course itself, the Beargrease trail includes the North Shore communities of Two Harbors, Finland, Tofte (Sawbill Checkpoint), Grand Marais (Trail Center and Skyport Checkpoints), Mineral Center, and Grand Portage.

You can always check their official website, Beargrease.com, for information about checkpoint locations and anticipated musher arrival and departure times, and more.

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