Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon

Posted at: 03/13/2013 6:48 PM
Updated at: 03/13/2013 10:56 PM
By: Laura Kennedy

Dozens of mushing teams took off from the Beargrease starting line in Duluth on Sunday. In front of them, miles of fresh snow that was a bit of a challenge for some teams.

By midday on Monday, the mid distance mushers had completed their 106 mile trek to Tofte. Jenny Greger of Bozeman, Montana was the first to cross the finish line.

"We did really good," Greger said. "The dogs ran awesome. I'm so proud of them. They did really good. They were really fast, really strong. I finished with the whole team. They just always amaze me every day."

Her team trains in deep snow, so the new powder wasn't a problem.

"It's one of the best races I've done with them," Greger said. "The trail was great and beautiful, and the dogs just 110 percent the whole way. It was just great. "

Fellow mid distancer Martha Schouweiler completed her sixth Beargrease. Her team came in strong and happy.

"I think I worked a little bit harder on the uphills, did more pulling this time," Schouweiler said. "But I've also been more careful on the downhills."

After a second place finish in 2011, Nathan Schroeder of Chisholm is a Beargrease champion once again. He finished less than an hour in front of Keith Aili of Ray, Minnesota.

"I wasn't gonna let off the gas pedal. I knew Keith was behind me and he's very competitive. Very competitive," Schroeder said. "I figured I only had one shot and I was gonna take advantage of it. Wasn't leaving anything on the line."

Aili competed with a young team, and says finishing a race helps strengthen their relationship.

"Most of the bond is built in training, but in the race they build trust because something they don't know exactly how far you want them to go, so once you do a race they trust you a lot more," Aili said.