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John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon General Information

The John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon is a 300 mile (sometimes 400) sled dog race.  It has been starting in Duluth and finishing in Grand Portage after a trip up the North Shore and also the Gun Flint Trail.  It is 3 individual races with a 300 mile marathon, 120 mile mid distance, and 40 mile recreational races.

Ham radio operators are used to staff net control 24/7 for the race as well as be onsite for every road crossing and check point for the entire 300 miles.  The race runs 24 hrs a day from Sunday morning about about Tuesday evening (or Wednesday morning if it is running slow).  The cap is 70 teams with 60 or more teams being common.  Ham radio volunteers call in the location of the mushers are the road crossings and also include official time from the judges when at a checkpoint.  We are the health and welfare safety crew for the race which includes not only the mushers but also the volunteers.  There is not cell phone service for most of the race and if a volunteer where to get hurt at a road crossing, the on site ham would be the fastest way for that person to get help.

I have put together an overview of the race locations with notes about each location into a document to help both new and returning volunteers for the race.  That document will get attached here if I can figureout how to attach it.

Beargrease Amature Radio Coalition (BARC) is the radio group that was formed for the sole purpose of supporting the race.  We use 2 repeater systems for the race: the LSAC and BWARC systems.  The LSAC is used for the southern part of the race from the start through approximatly Finland checkpoint.  The BWARC system is used for anything north of that.  Net control has been held at a variety of places, but has been at Bluefin Bay Resorts in Tofte, MN for the last several years and will be there again for this coming race in 2023.

If you are interested, feel free to contact myself (Kyle KE0GPI) or sign up at the BARC website.  BARC website is: | Home


Kyle Hendricks