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Schroeder wins Beargrease for second straight year

RICE LAKE TOWNSHIP, Minn. -- Nathan Schroeder of Chisholm won the 2014 John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon on Wednesday, arriving at the finish line in Rice Lake Township at 1:19 p.m.

His closest competitor, Keith Aili of Ray, was about two hours behind.

It’s a back-to-back championship for Schroeder, who won the race in 2013 and 2010.

Brutal temperatures and drifting snow made the race one of the toughest in memory for mushers and dogs. Wednesday’s finish was sort of an oddity, with teams coming in during the afternoon as mushers were slowed by conditions. Most early finishers have come in the midmorning in the past.

There’s no time to rest for Schroeder. He plans to race in Alaska’s Iditarod, which starts March 1. He continues to raise money for the trip.

Aili has run dogs for 25 years and won the Beargrease in 2006.