MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Organizers for the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon are asking for donations after someone made off with their supply of straw, which is used at race checkpoints for the sled dogs to sleep on.

Organizers for the race, which runs along the North Shore, posted to Facebook on Wednesday, saying that someone stole their straw from a storage area.

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“We go through an enormous amount of straw for our races – our four-legged athletes need their rest,” they wrote in a plea to followers. “We estimate our cost will be about $2,000 to replace.”

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Those who want to make donations can do so here.

To tug at the heartstrings of dog-lovers, the organizers posted photos of the sled dogs sleeping on the straw, which is used to make beds for the animals on the snow. Nighttime temperatures during the winter race plunge well below zero.

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The John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon runs from Jan. 26 to Jan. 30, taking mushers from Duluth through the wilderness of the North Shore and eventually to Grand Portage, a distance of nearly 400 miles. It is the longest sled dog race in the lower 48 states.