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Sled dog racing: Two Harbors musher fifth in Gunflint Mail

The top five 12-dog race finishers in the Gunflint Mail Run, from left: Ward Wallin, Two Harbors, fifth; Denis Tremblay, St. Michael des Saints, Quebec, fourth; Matt Schmidt, Grand Marais, third; Nathan Schroeder, Coon Rapids, Minn., second; and Ryan Redington, Skagway, Alaska, first. Courtesy photo

The Gunflint Mail Run kicked off the start of the dog-sled racing season in Cook County on Saturday, Jan. 6. The original event, a 12-dog, 100-mile race, included two runs — approximately 50 miles each over a two-day stretch — and a 65-mile eight-dog shorter and faster race.

Two Harbors resident Ward Wallin placed fifth in the 12-dog race.

The race started and finished at Trail Center Lodge, 7611 Gunflint Trail, on Poplar Lake, Grand Marais. Trail Center Lodge is approximately 30 miles up the Gunflint Trail.

Winners of the 2018 Gunflint Mail Run:

12-dog teams

• Ryan Redington, Skagway, Alaska

• Nathan Schroeder, Coon Rapids, Minn.

• Matt Schmidt, Grand Marais

• Dennis Tremblay, St. Michael des Saints, Quebec

• Ward Wallin, Two Harbors

Eight-dog teams

• Joanna Oberg, Ignace, Ontario

• Martha Schouweiller, Irma, Wis.

• Frank Moe, Hovland, Minn.

• Michael Bestgen, St. Cloud, Minn.

• Rita Whehseler, Tofte

Beargrease Marathon next

Dog sled racing fans can also look forward to the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon on Sunday, Jan. 28, through Tuesday, Jan. 31. This is the longest dog sled race in the lower 48 states and is a qualifier for the famed Iditarod in Alaska.

More than 60 world-class mushers are expected at this year's race, vying for cash prizes totaling $20,000. The races will traverse the Sawtooth Mountains in Cook County, going as far north as Gunflint Lake near the Canadian border. For a spectators' map, visit

The Beargrease Marathon will start just outside of Two Harbors, then head to Trail Center on the Gunflint Trail and back, while the shorter, mid-distance race goes one-way on the route. The marathon typically takes three days to complete. Nearly 500 volunteers from around the country come together each winter to support the event.

For more race details, visit