Minnesota sled dog racer is born to run

Sled dog competitor Ashley Thaemert lives for the race, despite grueling conditions and dangers along the trail. Thaemert competed in the mid distance portion of The John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon. 

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Ashley Thaemert picked up Butters so she could clean the area around his doghouse at her home in Tower, Minn. on January 13, 2020.
Zephyr waited in his stall in Thaemert's portable kennel as she prepared to transport her sled dog team to Embarass, Minn. for a course training session on January 13, 2020.
Missy, left, barked with excitement while Maya waited calmly for a course training session in Embarass, Minn. on January 13, 2020.
Ashley Thaemert entered her pop-up tent for a nap after a course training session in Embarass, Minn. on January 13, 2020. The goal of the session was to simulate a typical leg of the race and replicate what the actual marathon will feel like.
Ashley Thaemert laid down in her pop-up tent for a nap after a course training session in Embarass, Minn. on January 13, 2020. The goal of the session was to simulate a typical leg of the race and replicate what the actual marathon will feel like.
(Left) Maya and Zephyr, Ashley Thaemert's lead dogs, guided her sled dog team during a course training session in Embarrass, Minn. on January 13, 2020.
Ashley Thaemert embraced Sailuk with a hug by his doghouse on January 23, 2020. Sailuk would not be racing on her Beargrease team but she tries to give every one of her dogs individual attention every day.
Ashley Thaemert and Cam Halverson entered her trailer on January 23, 2020 to iron out all the details and plans for the marathon that would kick off in three days.
(From Left) Mike Tam, Ashley Thaemert and Cam Halverson sat in her trailer on January 23, 2020 to iron out all the details and plans for the marathon that would kick off in three days.
Ashley Thaemert loaded gallons of water on a sled to transport through a Walmart in Hermantown, Minn. the night before the race would begin. Her sister arrived shortly with an actual shopping cart for them to use.
Gravy and Abby played with one another before taking off on the first day of the John Beargrease sled dog marathon on January 26, 2020.
Ashley Thaemert laughed with her sister, Carissa, while getting final paper work together before taking off for the first leg of the Beargrease 120 on January 26, 2020.
Cam Halverson, second from left, Ashley Thaemert and Mike Tam walked through the crowd outside Billy's Bar in Duluth to scope out the path they would be leading the dogs to the starting line on January 26, 2020.
Ashley Thaemert prepared to take off from the starting line in front of a big crowd outside of Billy's Bar in Duluth on January 26, 2020.
Eli jumped in the air with excitement as Ashley Thaemert's sled dog team prepared to begin the Beargrease 120 on January 26, 2020.
Ashley Thaemert mushed her sled dog team through the first leg of the Beargrease 120 on January 26, 2020. The first leg took them from Duluth to Two Harbors, Minn.
Ashley Thaemert took off from the starting line in front of a big crowd outside of Billy's Bar in Duluth on January 26, 2020.
Ashley Thaemert leads the pack along the North Shore Trail through the Boreal Forest north of Two Harbors. (Photo by Brian Peterson)
Ashley Thaemert mushed her sled dog team through the first leg of the Beargrease 120 on January 26, 2020. The first leg took them from Duluth to Two Harbors, Minn.
Ashley Thaemert carried Zephyr to the front of her sled dog team as she prepared to take off for the second leg of the Beargrease 120 from Two Harbors, Minn. around 7pm on January 26, 2020.
Ashley Thaemert mushed her dog sled team through the night during the second leg of the Beargrease 120 around 11PM on January 26, 2020.
Ashley Thaemert prepared to take off for the second leg of the Beargrease 120 from Two Harbors, Minn. around 7pm on January 26, 2020.
On site veterinarians assessed Zephyr's injuries after the second leg of the Beargrease 120 on January 26, 2020. Ashley suspected Zephyr had stepped in a soft patch of snow or a hole and broke his leg.
Ashley Thaemert prepared to take off for the third and final leg of the Beargrease 120 from Finland, Minn. around 4:30AM on January 27, 2020. She considered dropping out of the race because of what happened to Zephyr but her team convinced her to finish the race in his honor.
Ashley Thaemert crossed the finish line of the mid-distance race outside the Trestle Inn in Tofte, Minn. the morning of January 27, 2020.
Ashley Thaemert was embraced by her mother, Mary Kaye Schleper, after completing the Beargrease 120 on January 27, 2020. It was a bittersweet moment as Zephyr and his injury weighed heavily on her mind.
Ashley Thaemert laughed while resting inside the Trestle Inn in Tofte, Minn. after she completed the Beargrease 120 on January 27, 2020.
Ashley Thaemert pet Zephyr outside her home in Tower, Minn. on March 11, 2020. He had to get his leg amputated after he stepped in a soft patch of snow or a hole and broke his humerus during the second leg of the Beargrease 120 on January 26, 2020. The other option was to get an extremely expensive repair that would have likely left him with life long chronic pain. Zephyr continues to live a very happy and carefree life.