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Bryn Thomas

The greatest dog racers in the world. A gruelling thousand miles journey begins tomorrow

By The Siberian Times reporter
08 March 2012

The remarkable annual Beringia dog sled race begins tomorrow, March 9 through some of the planet's remotest and most challenging territory in Kamchatka.

A total of 16 races including three women and an Orthodox priest are taking part in the gruelling 1,100 kilometre event which is divided into 18 stages of between 16km and 90km.

Racers drive sleds pulled by eight to 14 dogs, explained Itar-Tass news agency in a report from the race start.

The racers have to cope with temperatures as low as minus 30C as they traverse three highland passes rising to 1,200 metres over more than two and a half weeks, starting from the coast of the Sea of Okhotsk and ending across the peninsula on the Kamchatka coast of the Bering Sea in the settlement of Ossora.

 The race was initiated in 1990 by the North Expanses magazine and the Foundation of the Peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East.

It is seen both as an extreme sporting event but also a way of preserving the traditions of the indigenous peoples of Kamchatka.

«Each spring the Beringia race becomes one of the most important events in the life on the peninsula. In remote settlements, where the race is running, concerts are given, the racers meet with local villagers and celebrate festive events. Since 2010 the Beringia race is an official holiday in the Kamchatka Territory,» explained Itar-Tass.

In 1991 the race stretched over 1,980 kilometres and is officially the longest ever sled dog trip, according to Guinness World Records.

However, locals contend that the 1992 race totalled 2,044 kilometres though this new record was not officially registered.

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