11 days left before we will start at the longest race of this season – the Finnmarkslöpet with a length of 564 km in total.
Where do the dogs and I rest during the race?
How long are the distances between the checkpoints?
What happens to injured dogs?
Where do we sleep?
Are you driving during the night?
These are common questions I get when I start talking about sled dogs and training for long distance races like the Finnmarkslöpet in Northern Norway.
The legs between the checkpoints are between 44 and 118 km long.
The Finnmarkslöpet starts at the 10th of march and if everything goes well we will be at the finish line at the 13th anytime during the morning. But it´s along way to go with 8 dogs, so the first goal is to reach the finish line with happy dogs!
You must rest at least 22 hours, mostly it is your decision where to rest and for how long and you can of course rest longer than 22 hours!
You get water and straw in the checkpoints. The dogs get a cozy straw bed and get covered with blankets so that they can recover in the best possible way. I sleep in a sleeping bag next to the dogs or in our trailer. Sleep deprivation is the biggest challenge during those races. I usually sleep 2 hours during 24 hours.
The worst for me is the first “night mushing”, that´s where it feels very hard to stay awake. After that it gets better and better, it feels at least like that… not sure if I´m too tired to make a realistic judgement… 😉
In average the dogs are running in a speed of 10-15 kmh, depending on the trail conditions, weather and temperature. Each 2-3 hours they get a snack (chicken, salmon or beef) and in the checkpoints they get dryfood, meatsoup and/or water.
Before, during and after the race each dog gets checked by veterinarians. If a dog gets injured, ill or too tired during the race my handlers (handlers for this year will be Johanna and my mother) take care of that dog and I continue with less dogs. You must finish the race with at least 5 dogs otherwise you will get disqualified.
Hope you got some answers and a better idea about a long distance race. If not, just post your question in the comment field below. I will gladly answer your questions.
Really looking forward to this year´s Finnmarkslöpet.
Sometimes I`m wondering why we do that, even one of our doghandlers at home asked me recently:
“Why are you doing it? It´s crazy!”
The best answer I could came up with was:
“If you do something crazy, do something
really crazy – not just half-crazy!”
So, we keep on mushing until we can find something more insane… 😉