2014 John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon Canceled

Posted at: 10/17/2013 7:35 PM
Updated at: 10/17/2013 10:48 PM
By: Maarja Anderson

Due to lack of funding, organizers of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon have canceled the 2014 race.

Board president and race coordinator Pat Olson tells Eyewitness News they plan to use 2014 as a "regroup" year. 2014 would have been the 30th running of the Beargrease.

"I can say with certainty that we are not going to have a race this year," Olson confirmed.

For 25 years, Olson has been part of the Beargrease. To have to cancel next year's race is heartbreaking, she said.

"It's a great passion for me and I love the event, I love the dogs," said Olson.

The Beargrease brings in mushers, volunteers, and spectators from all over. But Olson said it's not just about the race, it's about the camaraderie on the trail, the history in the Northland, and of course, the dogs.

The past few winters, however, have been unpredictable. Olson said the only thing they can't control, the weather, has been their biggest enemy.

"Canceling the race two years ago, and then having to postpone it last year, we really took a beating to have to do that," explained Olson.

Olson said they took those hits financially and more funding just hasn't been coming in this year. She said it takes a minimum of $45,000 to run a race.

Olson said they will use the year to fundraise for the 2015 race. They will also use the year to reassess the importance of the race to the Northland.

This Saturday the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon will host their first fundraiser. Jim Lanier, an Iditarod musher, is having a book signing at Amazing Grace Bakery in Duluth at 6:30 p.m.