PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, January 09. /ITAR-TASS/. A six million ruble prize fund (around $185,000) will be available in Kamchatka’s long-distance dog sled racing Beringia that starts in Russia’s Far Eastern peninsula in March, the press service of the regional government told Itar-Tass on Thursday.
In 1991 a 1,980 kilometer racing was put in the Guinness World Records, known until 2000 as the Guinness Book of Records, as the world’s longest dog sled racing.
This year the starting point and distance of the extreme racing was changed. Dog drivers will start in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and finish in the northern village of Tilichiki, overcoming 1,300 kilometers instead of traditional 950 kilometers. Last year the racing began in Esso, a town in central Kamchatka, and finished in the village of Ossora on the shore of the Bering Sea.
Since 2010 Beringia has been proclaimed an official holiday of the Kamchatka Territory.
This year’s festivities were unveiled by a Christmas racing in Esso on January 6. Taken part in the Christmas racing were 12 dog sleds driven by children and teenagers aged between 12 to 17 years. They contested in two and ten kilometer long racings driving two and four dogs in a sled. Organizers say practically all participants plan to join Beringia in the future and will fill shoes of the elder generation.
Beringia was initiated in Kamchatka in 1990 by Severnye Prostory (Northern Space) magazine and the Foundation of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East.
Veterans of the dog sled racing say Beringia is not only a competition, it is targeted at preserving traditions of indigenous peoples of Kamchatka.
Every spring Beringia becomes one of the most significant events in the peninsula’s life. Different concerts, meetings with villagers and festive events are staged in remote villages through which the racing runs.