The John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon is the longest running sled dog race in the lower 48 states. Established in 1980, the nearly 300 mile John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon is one of only five races in the continental US that serves as an Iditarod qualifier for its length and level of challenge. In addition to the Marathon, the race series include the Beargrease 120, the most competitive mid distance race in the contiental US, a 40 mile recreational race, and two youth races—the Junior Class 120 for mushers under 18, and the Cub Run, a fun race for kids under 12. Nearly 70 teams participate in the Beargrease race series each winter from across the US and Canada. Weather permitting, the race is held the last weekend of January, and the 39th running of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon takes place on Sunday, January 29, 2023 in Duluth. From the rugged terrain of the North Shore's Sawtooth Mountains to unpredictable weather conditions along Lake Superior, the Beargrease is known to mushers as "one tough race."
Our Mission: of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon is to preserve, educate and promote dog-powered sports while producing a world-class long distance race series.
The John Beargrease sled dog marathon attracts thousands of race fans who follow race festivities in person and online. Nearly 400 volunteers make the race possible (learn how you can become a Beargrease volunteer), and a team of 20+ highly trained veterinarians and vet techs travel with the race to provide expert care to ensure the safety and welfare of our canine athletes (read more about our Animal Treatment Statement). The Beargrease also offers education programs for schools. Most important, we support the sport of dog sled racing and our North Shore communities that the race travels through, while celebrating the vibrant indigenous culture of our region, and the legacy of the great dog musher and mail carrier John Beargrease, for whom the race is named after.
View our current participation opportunities.
Volunteer with the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon!
Duluth and North Shore locations