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In a quick turnaround, John Beargrease race back on again

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Sure, the John Beargrease is a fast-moving race. But this kind of turnabout could give a dog whiplash.

The Duluth News Tribune reports organizers of Minnesota's most famous sled dog race have agreed to turn the event over to a group of mushers and race enthusiasts who plan to hold the 400-mile marathon in January, as usual.

This comes less than a week after the announcement that this winter's race would be cancelled while organizers tried to shore up the event's finances.

Northland's News Center reports the board voted unanimously to turn management over to Jason Rice and Tone Coughlin. Coughlin is the race director for the North Shore Inline Marathon, an inline skating event that follows the same North Shore course used by Grandma's Marathon.

January's race will be the 30th running of the Beargrease, which covers nearly the entire length of Minnesota's Lake Superior shore, from Duluth to the Grand Marais area and back. A feature story on the website Uniquely Minnesota calls it the biggest sled dog race in the lower 48 states.

Over the weekend, some of those who have worked with the race told the News Tribune a change in leadership and a better business plan could improve its finances.

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John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon organizers to meet Sunday

The lack of snow along the North Shore is still threatening this year's race. Organizers of the event plan to decide Sunday afternoon whether it can go on as scheduled or if it needs to be postponed or canceled. MPR reports another ten inches of snow would be ideal. Sixty mushers are currently signed-up for the January 29 sled dog race.