Wisconsin musher wins sled dog marathon in Minnesota

Grand Portage, MN: A musher and their sled dog team rounded a corner in the John Bear Grease sled dog marathon. (Photo by Alex Kormann/Star Tribune via Getty Images)

A Wisconsin musher wins his fourth John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon title by a wide margin.

Ryan Anderson had a one-hour cushion in finishing the 300-mile sled dog race in northeastern Minnesota Tuesday evening.

Anderson, of Cushing, Wisconsin also won the race in 2011, 2015 and 2017 and joins Nathan Schroeder and Jamie Nelson as the event’s only four-time winners.

"I don’t get too excited or show a lot of emotion that way, but obviously I’m super happy and super proud of what I’ve accomplished," Anderson said. "I’m more proud of the confidence that the dog team has now moving forward with them. They feel like they can accomplish anything."

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About a dozen mushers, roughly half the field of contenders, had dropped out of the race by midday Tuesday. Race officials used the word "punchy" to describe the snow conditions along the North Shore and compared it to running on mashed potatoes. The warm weather caused some mushers to worry about the health of their dogs, the Star Tribune reported.

This year’s race marked the return of spectators along the trail. They were not allowed to cheer teams on last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Beargrease, in its 38th year, is known as the longest sled dog race in the contiguous United States. The Beargrease is a qualifier for the Iditarod, the premier race for mushers, in Alaska in March.

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