Dog-sled race in Kamchatka pays tribute to old traditions

03.04.2012 10:31:30 (GMT+12)

Andrei Semashkin from Kamchatka -the winner in a dog-sled race held on the Bering Sea coast in Kamchatka, has covered the overall distance within 83 hours and 25 minutes. The winner crossed the finish line in the settlement of Ossora. The winner has been awarded the chief prize - a snowmobile, spokeswoman for the race organizers, Vera Stupnikova said.

All the fourteen sportsmen who took part in the race reached the finish line. There were from seven to eleven dogs driving each sledge, which showed a maximum speed of 15 kilometers per hour. Sixteen dog-sled teams turned up at the start of the Beringia race in the settlement of Esso on March 9, but two participants dropped out for different reasons. The remaining contestants, including three women and a priest, have successfully overcome all the hardships of the race held in a deserted tundra area covered with a snow blanket under air temperatures almost 30 degrees Celsius below zero.

On Tuesday a special ceremony in honor of the winners and participants in the dog-sled race was held. Kamchatka regional Governor Vladimir Ilyukhin took part in the victory ceremony held in honor of the winners.

Dog-sled competitions named Beringia have been held in Kamchatka since 1990. The first one was held on the initiative of the Fund of the People of the North, Siberia and the Far East and a local magazine, Severniye Prostory.

A dog-sled competition held in 1991, which had a route 1,980 kilometers long, was put into the Guinness Book of Records as the longest dog-sled race. Although another dog-sled race held in 1992 (2,044 kilometers) beat the previous record, the new record was never officially registered. Since then dog-sled competitions had a traditional route 950 kilometers long. This year the traditional route was changed because organizers made it longer than in the previous years.

Organizers said their goal was not merely to hold a sports competition, but also to preserve the old tradition of the indigenous population of Kamchatka. Every spring the Beringia becomes one of the most bright and impressive events in the life of Kamchatka. Concerts and other festivities are organized in remote settlements passed by dog-sled teams. Since 2010 the Beringia is celebrated as an official holiday in Kamchatka.