Chilly night for the U.P. 200 start, but the dogs don’t mind

It was a chilly night Friday for the start of the U.P. 200 in downtown Marquette.

Crowds lined the streets of Marquette to cheer on the mushers and dog teams as they sprinted off towards Grand Marais for the U.P. 200, or to Chatham for the Midnight Run.

It was in the single digits when the teams headed down Washington Street, but mushers said cold weather is actually a good thing for the dog teams.

“The dogs definitely run better when it’s cold,” U.P. 200 musher Lisa Dietzen said. “Zero degrees is probably the best you can do. When you start to get into the 20′s, it’s starting to get a little warm for them, and for us too.”

“Definitely the colder weather is better for them, but such a thing as too cold. Then you worry about frostbite and things like that.”

“The first races have been so cold up in Minnesota, it was just terrible. I think my toes are still frozen from the first weekend in January,” Midnight Run musher and St. Cloud, Minnesota resident Mike Bestgeen said. “The weather (for the Midnight Run) looks good, so I’m looking forward to running the trail again, it’s a beautiful trail here.”

The thirteen U.P. 200 teams should get into Grand Marais between 10 a.m. and noon Saturday, and the Midnight Run mushers will finish in Marquette Saturday morning.

For more information on the U.P. 200, including viewing areas, and links to track the dog teams, visit the U.P. 200′s website.