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Annual John Beargrease Sled Dog race is underway

The longest sled dog race in the Lower 48 states is off and running.

DULUTH, Minn. — Mushers and teams in the longest sled dog race in the contiguous United States have hit the trail. 

The 300-mile John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon kicked off Sunday morning from Billy's Bar in Duluth. 

The teams are headed to Grand Portage in far northeastern Minnesota. 

There are three other races for shorter distances, including the Junior Beargrease 120 for young mushers. 

This year's race marked the return of spectators along the trail. They were not allowed to cheer them on last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Beargrease is a qualifier for the Iditarod, the premier race for mushers, in Alaska in March.

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