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A gruelling thousand miles dog sled race is in making in Siberia

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The remarkable annual Beringia dog sled race is going on through some of the planet's remotest and most challenging territory in Kamchatka, reported The Siberian Times (Russia).

A total of 16 competitors 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.

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.

Each team has between 9 and 14 dogs and they will pass through 17 stages, resting at checkpoints in heated tents or small hotels on the way.

The Beringia is famed as the longest on the world, but this only applied to 1991 and 1992 when it covered 1,980km and 2,044km respectively.

This year it will be 970km, well short of the world famous Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska which is officially set at 1,688 km.

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