The John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon has been postponed until March 10. It had been scheduled to start Jan 27.
“The board made the decision last night,” race coordinator Pat Olson said this morning. “I don’t know that we really had any choice but to postpone. It was tough, but the trail is terrible. The rain sealed the deal.”
Before Friday’s rain, race organizers had made contingency plans for marathon racers to leave the start line near Duluth with fewer dogs than normal, while the start of the mid-distance race would move to Lake County Highway 2 north of Two Harbors. But the rain worsened already marginal trail conditions.
“I’m hoping we get snow by March 10,” Olson said.
If it doesn’t, the race could face its third cancelation.
Last year’s races were scheduled to begin Jan. 29. A lack of snow and safety concerns caused the board of directors to cancel the race on Jan. 15. It also was canceled in 2007.
The Beargrease first was run in 1980. It became an annual event in 1984. It has been postponed several times, and its start was moved at least twice — once to near Lake County 2 and once to Grand Portage — to find more snow.