Ready, set, go! Long-delayed Beargrease sled dog race begins

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The 29th running of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon will officially begin Sunday afternoon, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

The News Tribune says 10 mushers have signed up to compete in the marathon race that runs 375 miles up the North Shore from Duluth to the Gunflint trail and back.

Another 30 teams will take part in the 125-mile mid-distance race.

However, that's still half the number of contestants who competed in the last race.

"I just think that training conditions have been a challenge with the lack of snow," race director Pat Olson told MPR. "I don't think the economy has helped much. So for lots of different reasons, we saw a drop in numbers this year."

A lack of good snow forced organizers to postpone the annual race in January.

The Beargrease was cancelled last year because of poor snow conditions and unseasonably warm weather.

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New sled dog race rises to take the place of canceled 'Beargrease'

Two business are hoping to revive the Mail Run Dogsled Race, an event that was popular before the rise of the now ubiquitous John Beargrease marathon. Organizers say they want to run the race in place of Beargrease, which was canceled because of a lack of snow.

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Organizers say the poor snow has them concerned about the safety of the mushers, dogs and volunteers. Other race week events, like the gala and silent auction, will go on.