So, the V anniversary International Sled-dog Race KALEVALA 2014 is over.
We feel a little sad to see if off and we’re summing-up the results of these amazing days, which can hardly be forgotten by anyone, who was a part of this great event.
The weather, which played a low-down trick on us, has changed the march of the race, as we had big difficulties with the main element of the competition – autonomic routes. The organizing team had to make new routes urgently. But, as it was marked by the Race Marshall Nils Finsrud and his assistant Olafs Kludzins, the excellent work has been done, and the quality of the track has met all the requirements.
There were 16 participants in the 440 km race, and 2 disciplines – skijoring (2 dogs) and sleds (6-8 dogs).
On March, 8th there was a coordination meeting, where all the participants could meet each other, and veterinary team, judges and the organizers explained the main details of the race.
The Race again confirmed the international status – there mushers from Spain, Czech, Poland, arrived to Kalevala, as well as the Marshall from Norway, the Chief Judge from Latvia, and the participants from all over the country: Moscow, Saint-Petersburg, Irkutsk region, etc.
There are 5 stages in the Race, including Prologue, demo drive of 18 km. This day was one of the brightest and unforgettable. The place stays the same for years now. On March, 9th the Kalevala stadium changed completely. It’s all covered with advertisement banners, and hundreds of flags, everything’s creating the atmosphere of festival. On this day hundreds of people go to the stadium to see the great sportive festival. The promoters don’t disappoint them and always make surprises. This year KALEVALA Race flag was delivered to a flagstaff in 2 stages: in the sky by paraglider and on earth by a sled. The flag was planted by symbolical heroes of KALEVALA Race, who have catch the fancy of everybody: the husky dolls Bonya, Uma and Kaleva.
By the tradition, the ceremony is opened by the participants parade.
Following the wind-band, the organizers and all the team of “WelT-Karelia Tavels” went first. Then was the turn of the judges and veterinarians, and the heroes of the day – mushers. Each musher was going with the flag of his country and region, or city. Valentina Ilyinichna Bulavtseva, the Head of Region Administration, and Vladimir Nikolaevitch Semenov, the President of the Sleddog Sport Federation of Karelia, greeted all the audience from the scene. This celebration brought a lot of fun and good memories to all the people in Kalevala
One of the new elements were night race stages, happened on March 11th and 15th. Mushers were very excited about this new experience, confessing, that it’s a good way to explore them in an uncommon situation. The night brings the fineness - it’s a romantic and danger of the night taiga, experienced differently by everyone. For example, Petr Elster was singing for his dogs, because the instinctive fear against the wild nature can’t be just cancelled, even if you know that volunteers and the security group are working all through the distance!
According to the Race results, the top 3 places in Sleds discipline were won by foreign mushers: Radek Havrda (Czech), Salva Luque (Spain), Wojciech Sygula (Poland). Top mushers from Europe waged a serious campaign on the Kalevala ground, and left Russian mushers far behind, proving, that Russian sleddog sport has a lot of work to do.
In skijoring the first place won Petr Elster (Czech). The second place, by far from the leader, got the permanent participant of KALEVALA race and three times champion Sergey Bespalov (Leningrad region). The third place got the new musher Vladimir Levchenko from Saint-Petersburg.
Well, the race is great, but not the only. The participants had an opportunity to join the excursion to Kalevala Rune-singers Museum, and the seminar by the race Marshall Nils Finsrud, telling about sled dog sport in Norway, was the theoretical accord of the everyday sport life.
The volunteers, who worked so hard for the race, were neither forgotten. There were informal meetings with Polish and Czech teams made especially for volunteers.
The traditional farewell concert, dedicated to the awarding ceremony, was made on March, 16th. The hall was packed, the audience was very excited – participants, guests, organizers, volunteers. The concert passed in one breath: the actors of the “Mr Pejo`s Wandering Dolls” theater, beautiful music of electro-violoncello performed by Sophie, and memorized drummers from DrumTime band, made everyone dance!
The official part of the ceremony was MC’ed by organizers. They invited on the scene and feted everyone, who took the part in preparing and running the race: judges, veterinarians, instructors, volunteers, all the members of “WelT Karelian Travel” and many others.
The special moment was the awarding of the KALEVALA 2014 race participants. They were invited to the scene one by one, and each got a diploma and a trophy.
Money certificates of the total amount 263 000 RUR got the participant with the places from 4 to 9. The prize fund of the amount 700 000 RUR got the top 3 mushers in both disciplines. The awarding ceremony surprised foreign participants. They said, that abroad these ceremonies are never so festive.
It’s so sad to say goodbye. The organizers saw the participans off with a sad feeling. But in a year these quiet ground of Kalevala will open arms again, to welcome the mushers from all over the world, and to see their flags going through the ground of Kalevala Epos at the VI International Race “KALEVLA 2015”