Photo by Rhonda Silence
Schroeder Musher Rita Lensing relaxes with one of her team, Ellie, at the Trail Center checkpoint. Lensing finished third in the 2002 John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon.

Enough Snow By Rhonda Silence


The 2002 John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon was close and fast. Ham radio operators and race coordinators said the teams were about six hours ahead of schedule as they came into the rest stop at Trail Center in Grand Marais. At the end, Marathon first place finisher, Frank Teasley, of Jackson, Wyoming was less than an hour ahead of second place musher Lloyd Gilbertson. Cook County's own Rita Lensing of Schroeder repeated her last year's finish, earning third place.
During her Trail Center layover, Lensing said the trail conditions were fair. "It's fast and hard, which can lead to shoulder injuries. But my dogs are doing okay," she said.
Trail Center was probably one of the busiest checkpoints, with mid-distance marathoners finishing there, and full marathon teams resting there before the return trip via Devil Track and Finland to Two Harbors.
The Cook County Star caught up with Beargrease Race Coordinator Alex Angelos at Trail Center and asked what he had heard about trail conditions. "There's good snow away from the lake. It was a bit touch and go by Pike Lake and down by Beaver Bay where the trail gets nearer the lake. But overall, conditions are pretty good," he said.
The mid-distance Beargrease winner was Bruce Kohlhase of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Grand Marais mushers Dean Gulden and Neil Rasmussen came in within an hour of each other, in third and fourth place respectively.
The 300-mile Marathon winners were: 1st Frank Teasley, Jackson, Wyoming; 2nd Lloyd Gilbertson, Chatham, Michigan; 3rd Rita Lensing, Schroeder; 4th John Stetson, Duluth; 5th Peter Curtice, Rumley, Michigan; 6th Bill Snodgrass, Dubois, Wyoming; 7th Ward Wallin, Two Harbors; 8th Rick Larson, Sand Coulee, Montana; 9th Robin Fisher, Cook; 10th Pat Faherty, Saginaw, Minnesota; 11th Joel Kersting, Deer River, Minnesota; and 12th Karen Ramstead, Alberta, Canada for Beargrease 2002

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