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Finnmark Race 2012

Dogsledding daytrips in the mountains

 

This year we had 2 adventurous guests from England and Austria – Phil Gretton and Jose Valverde, which entered the Finnmark Race 500 km together with Kenneth and 24 dogs from us. In the 500 km race they race with an 8-team each so 50% of our dogs changed the shape from tour dogs to racing dogs. Phil has been racing before but this was the first time for Jose and they both been here many times before to get prepared for this tough long distance race in the north of Norway.

 

Happy dogs after 240 km day and night, they love their massage and jackets.


After two weeks of intense training in all weather conditions - dark snowstorms, northern light in the night and sunny days, massage and stretching dogs and packing for the race they were ready to go to Finnmark together with the handlers Helmut that came all the way from Austria and Andreas from Sweden.

 



In Norway it was meetings and preparations for 3 days before the big day finally was there – the Start! It was 67 participants in the 500 km and 52 in the 1000 km. That means 1264 dogs in the starting area in the Centrum of Alta, what a day!
Nerves, stress, happiness, fear and love to the dogs and the nature were running around in our mushers the hours before the start. But everything went perfect; the dogs just stood ready and were waiting for the signal to GO. And they all took the right way, didn’t drive over the public or fall over…

 

Kenneth in the start!

After 45.14 hours in the track and 23.27 hours in the checkpoints they ALL crossed the finish line. All 24 dogs ran in with wagging tails, that’s unbelievable! It was just 6 other participants that had all the 8 dogs left in their teams.

Here are some words from Phil: “Like clockwork we continued under the expert guidance from Kenneth. Through day and night, storms, high winds and beautiful blue skies. Other mushers out on the track waited for us in difficult times and followed us as best they could. Always there were three of us together, always each of us with 8 dogs. At the finish I’m sure people amazed to see three teams all with 8 dogs.”


At the finish line it was tears on all the cheeks…