A northern Minnesota musher has claimed his fourth victory in the state’s most prestigious sled-dog race.
Nathan Schroeder crossed the finish line just north of Duluth shortly before 6 a.m. Wednesday to claim the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon title, finishing 32 minutes ahead of the nearest competitor in the nearly 383-mile race that began Sunday to the northeast near Two Harbors.
Schroeder, of Warba, near Grand Rapids, previously won the 32nd annual running of the race in 2010, 2013 and 2014.
Next up for Schroeder is the nation’s premier sled-dog race, the Iditarod, which starts March 5 in Alaska.
Schroeder made a late surge Wednesday to be the first to arrive at Billy’s Bar in Rice Lake, north of Duluth, before dawn. Jason Campeau was second, and defending champion Ryan Anderson glided in for third.
Schroeder, 38, was introduced to mushing at age 12, when he was given a ride at an elementary school. He was rookie of the year in the Iditarod in 2014, when he finished 17th. He came in 24th last year.
The Minnesota race is named for John Beargrease, an Ojibwe man from Beaver Bay who delivered mail along the North Shore from 1879 to 1899 by dog sled. It’s the longest sled dog race in the Lower 48 states.