John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon

THE SPIRIT OF JOHN BEARGREASE • TRAIL CENTER

Monday morning, day two. New snow and the landscape transformed, pristine.  As marathon teams headed up toward the Trail Center checkpoint, mid-distance mushers were completing their 103-mile journey down at Devil Track, with Martha Schouweiler, Frank Holmberg and Joanna Oberg taking the top 3 spots.

Very sweet scene at Trail Center. Everyone tromping in and out of the restaurant, enjoying Sarah’s fantastic food – mushers, handlers, families, volunteers, spectators – while dogs are fed and blanketed and/or resting on beds of straw alongside the Gunflint Trail. Mushers also find some time to sleep. Some images from the Trail Center Checkpoint:

Time to Go?Resting at Trail Center

Getting ready to head out for Devils Track

Mike Keyport, great-great-grandson of John Beargrease (and member of the JBSDM Board of Directors) was there to greet mushers and share a eulogy written for John Beargrease by Viola Keyport (Mike’s Mother and great granddaughter of JB) Here is Mike Keyport and his son Justin, next to the photo-board display Mike put together for the occasion. In the photo on the right, Mike is reading the eulogy to Bruce Langmaid from Ontario, who (sadly!) made the tough decision to scratch at this checkpoint:

Justin and Mike keyportMike Keyport reading Eulogy to Bruce

The eulogy, as written by Viola Keyport:
2008 Eulogy Beargrease

Shawn McCarty (#13) was the last musher to arrive. I overheard a conversation between handlers as he was coming in… about the fact that it’s easy for people (spectators) to think that ALL the mushers are here to race all-out, with a winning position being the goal. He said people don’t realize that, for a young team, the goal can be something very different – for the dogs to have fun, to get to know the route, stay in the game and gain experience.
Last in Trail Center Shawn McCarty

Judges. Sleep deprived and dedicated. Dan, on right:
Race Judges Trail Center

Erin Altemus and dogs readying to head back out – next stop Devil Track:
Erin Altemus team

Teams and photographers out there waiting:
Teams and Photographers

No idea what to say about this, but the dogs were looking happy about it:
Dinner