After Hiatus, Several Mushers Return to the Beargrease

Baihly Warfield
Updated: January 24, 2020 06:41 PM

The John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon attracts mushers from around the world. Whether they do it professionally or just for fun, many of them keep coming back. 


This year, there are several mushers returning to the race after a short or even decade-long hiatus. 

"Winning No. 5 would be awesome," musher Nathan Schroeder said. "But I still want to be a participant in the Beargrease. I've always enjoyed it." 

Schroeder is a four-time champion. He took 2019 off, commentating on the race for Mushing Midwest instead. But he's looking forward to being back on the trail come Sunday. 

"Hopefully I've done enough preparing so we can have a good race," Schroeder said. "That's the most important thing to me is just to have that good race." 

John Fisher shares that goal. He is returning to the race as a musher after more than a decade. 

"After judging the race last year, I liked the new format, I liked that it was a little bit shorter, and I liked the fact that it was ending up at Grand Portage," Fisher said. 

He's volunteered as a race judge and on the veterinary team. 

"Last year, I was giving all these advice to all these guys, going 'When I did the race,' this and that," he said. "And at the checkpoints later on I'm starting to think, I wonder if my advice is any good. I should go back and test it."

Fisher said he isn't out there to win it. He joked that he views his team as less of a sports car, more of a pickup truck. So he's racing for the love of the sport.

"It's the spell of the Yukon, it's the winter wilderness. The moon and the quiet and the peace, the beauty and the dogs," Fisher said. "The dogs are a quiet and natural but yet powerful means of transportation." 

Ryan Anderson, a three-time champion, is also returning to the marathon. He won the Beargrease 120 last year. 

There are 14 mushers registered for the marathon:

  • Keith Aili
  • Ryan Anderson
  • Liza Dietzen
  • John Fisher
  • Jaye Foucher
  • Blake Freking
  • Jen Freking
  • Martin Massicotte
  • Kevin Mathis
  • Peter McClelland
  • Laura Neese
  • Ryan Redington
  • Nathan Schroeder
  • Colleen Wallin


Baihly Warfield

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