From Lake County, a sprint for firstRyan Anderson of Ray overcame a 45-minute deficit to win the 28th John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon by 20 seconds Wednesday morning.
By: Forum Newspapers, Lake County News Chronicle
Ryan Anderson of Ray overcame a 45-minute deficit to win the 28th John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon by 20 seconds Wednesday morning.
Defending champion Nathan Schroeder had left the Highway 2 checkpoint north of Two Harbors 45 minutes ahead of Anderson with 10 dogs and a four-hour leg ahead.
“Honestly, I didn’t think I would see him,” Anderson said.
Yet 10 minutes after leaving the Highway 2 checkpoint himself with 11 dogs, Anderson saw a headlight and realized he had a chance to win the race. The two ran within sight of each other until the finish line, which Anderson crossed at 9:26 a.m.
Schroeder finished exactly 20 seconds later. He said his dogs hesitated after leaving Highway 2. “I just started getting them motivated and he caught up with us,” Schroeder said.
“I just don’t know what was going on (with the dogs). There was no hesitation last year,” he said. “It’s disappointing, but second is satisfying. Finishing second to Ryan doesn’t bother me.”
The two were side-by-side on Normanna Road at 8:14 a.m. Anderson briefly pulled ahead of Schroeder at Fox Farm Road.
Schroeder left the Highway 2 checkpoint at 4:46 a.m. Anderson left the checkpoint at 5:31 a.m. beacasue he had 22 minutes left in mandatory rest time.
“(Wednesday) morning’s race was bananas,” Terry Riessen, a Beargrease board member, said. “We were getting calls from road crossings that they were crossing neck-and-neck. Volunteers asked if they could do that. It was pretty exciting.”
Anderson said the two teams were so evenly matched that he couldn’t pull away from Schroeder and Schroeder couldn’t pass him. So the two friends ran together for more than 30 miles to the finish at Billy’s bar and grill, visiting along the way. At one point Schroeder suggested a photo finish.
“Let’s not do that,” Anderson said.
It had appeared that Schroeder likely had the race sewed up when he left the Highway 2 checkpoint, Riessen said.
Schroeder and Anderson also left the Finland checkpoint within minutes of each other. Schroeder was just six minutes ahead of Anderson and 12 dogs.
For Anderson’s part, the fact that he had won his first Beargrease Marathon didn’t sink in immediately.
“I had hoped to catch him,” he said. “I’m happy with the race.”
Anderson ran the race in 39 hours, 51 minutes, 4 seconds total time on trail. Schroeder won last year with a time of 40:04:25.
This was Anderson’s fifth Beargrease, but only the second he finished. He placed fourth in 2008. He won this year’s White Oak Classic race in Deer River. He will receive $7,000 for winning the Beargrease; Schroeder will receive $5,000.
“I think we’re going to have some food,” he said. “I might have a beer; maybe two.”
Four-time Beargrease champion Jamie Nelson finished third at 11:42.11 a.m. with 11 dogs.
Seventeen marathon teams registered for the 390-mile race, which began Sunday just north of Duluth. One team scratched before the race started; six teams scratched along the trail.
At earlier checkpoints along the course, racers commented on how fast the trail has been. “Last night from Trail Center to Devil Track Landing was a fantastic run,” Schroeder said Tuesday after arriving at the Sawbill checkpoint ahead of everyone. “The trail was fast.”
l Musher Dave Turner of Sandy, Ore., won the John Beargrease Mid-Distance race, coming in at 8 hours, 31 minutes and 52 seconds for an average speed of 12.4 mph on the 106-mile course.
l Maggie Heilmann of Somerset, Wis., finished second in 8:47:50; and Jerry Papke of Kingston, Mich., finished third at 8:51:48.
l The top Northland finisher in the Mid-Distance was Ross Fraboni of Two Harbors at 9:00:31. Fraboni, who works at the Ski Hut and as a substitute teacher, said in his racer biography that he’s never raced dogs before but has been helping out at Ten Squared Racing in Two Harbors for three seasons.
Order of finish
1. Dave Turner, Sandy, Ore., 8 hours, 31 minutes, 52 seconds on trail;
2. Maggie Heilmann, Somerset, Wis., 8:47:50;
3. Jerry Papke, Kingston, Mich., 8:51:48;
4. Ross Fraboni, Two Harbors, 9:00:31;
5. Joann Fortier, Gaylord, Mich., 9:21:27;
6. Tara McGovern, Grand Marais, 9:22:47;
7. David Gill, Skandia, Mich., 9:28:46;
8. Kate Ratkovich, Two Harbors, 9:32:23;
9. Jerry Trudell, Calumet, Mich., 9:38:45;
10. Jen Freking, Finland, 9:39:45;
11. Mary Black, Grand Marais, 9:41:28;
12. Nick Turman, Two Harbors, 9:42:38;
13. Joanna Oberg, Ignace, Ontario, 9:52:57;
14. Bob Wright, South Range, 9:56:44;
15. Bill Olson, Duluth, 10:00:18.
16. Amanda Vogel, Ray, 10:12:00;
17. Dusty Klaven, Gheen, 10:20:02;
18. Brian Wiese, Kakabeka Falls, Ontario, 10:22:37;
19. Richard Loucks, Wrenshall, 10:34:01;
20. Blake Cazier, Duluth, 10:30:59;
21. Stephanie Love, Duluth, 10:36:36;
22. Jason Jones, Walker, 10:39:18;
23. Clarke Garry, Cook, 10:46:19;
24. Neil Rasmussen, Grand Marais, 11:03:44;
25. Blake Freking, Finland, 11:07:35;
26. Thad McCracken, Portland, Ore., 11:08:56;
27. Tim Calhoun, Tomahawk, Wis., 11:09:37;
28. Mary Beth Logue, Trout Run, Pa., 11:11:18;
29. Natalie Harwood, Iron River, 11:24:41;
30. Alex LaPlante, Duluth, 11:13:55.
31. David Mills, Duluth, 11:19:18;
32. Mike Hoff, Silver Bay, 11:32:53;
33. Paul Amano, Kaministiquia, Ontario, 13:04:29.
Withdrew: Shaynee Seipke, Gladwin, Mich.; Kathy MacKay; Scott Edgett, Chisago City, Tom Roos, Alexandria.