Brave pups (and their owners) depart on 400-mile journey through northern Minnesota

Dog sled racers gathered in Two Harbors, Minnesota on Sunday as the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon kicked off. The annual race, which serves as a qualifier for the fabled Iditarod, runs nearly 400 miles predominantly along the North Shore. An awards banquet for the marathon mushers is held Thursday at the American Legion in Two Harbors. Photos by Andy Witchger.