Cold and snowy weather has produced near ideal conditions for the John Beargrease Sled Dog marathon starting this weekend.
Thirty sled-dog teams leave Duluth Sunday for a 390-mile marathon race up Lake Superior's North Shore and back.
Just a week ago, trail conditions were poor with little snow in places and lots of ice, but last weekend's storm fixed the problem with up to 19 inches of new snow. Now, the forecast for the race calls for seasonable cold, according to Beargrease Board Vice President Bob James.
"At night it's going to get down below zero, so they love it. The dogs love it. The mushers love it. The fans - some of them love it. Some of them don't, but they all show up," James said.
The marathon field is completely filled this year, with the mid-distance race to Tofte close to capacity with 46 teams registered.
The 27th running of the marathon begins at a new start line in Duluth Sunday, at the intersection of Riley Road and Jean Duluth Road.