Photographer: Ирина Якунина
Text: Диана Серебренникова
Racers from different Russian cities drove through 340 km (211 miles) of Siberian taiga on dog sleds.
Long-distance race was held in Krasnoyarsk krai for the first time. Dog-drivers on sleds were competing for five days riding on frozen river Mana and through taiga, passing the villages Beret’, BolshoiUngut and Urman. The dog sled from Tyumen lead by Mikhail Fateev was the fastest and the sturdiest.
Story by a photographer and volunteer Irina Yakunina.
Not everyone can power through such harsh romance: being out in the cold for many days, prowling frozen rivers on snowmobiles, rubbing cold hands, making fire in taiga, falling asleep to dogs howling and crossing creeks by following wolf trails. Not everyone would be comfortable in such conditions, only those who are close to nature and have an experience of hiking in winter.
Ust’-mana – Beret’
85 km (53 miles)
Riding our snowmobiles on the weaving frozen river Mana we have reached a hut that is located at the farthest cordon Kandalak of the naturе sanctuary “Stolby” on the first day of our journey. It was a check point, where we have met the racers, who had gone through the first half of the first stage of the race. They have replenished their hot water supplies, fed the dogs, gave them water to drink and let them rest. All of the teams has made it through the longest part of the race and continued their way to the finish line.
Beret’— Bolshoi Ungut
62 km (38.5 miles)
The cold has struck in the morning. We were trying to warm up as much as we could, while dogs were happy, because the weather conditions were ideal for running. After river Mana we were headed towards taiga with its long rises and falls. Both dogs and dog racers had to make an effort to succeed.
Bolshoi Ungut— Urman
57 km (35.5 miles)
We have made a stop in a house in the abandoned village Angaloy.
The snow was waist-deep and we have noticed a lot of wolves’ trails around. Later Tatyana Kosmyinina, one of the organizers of the race, told us that during the preparation of the route for the race every time when they were spending nights in the hunter’s hut they saw glowing eyes of the wolves outside in the dark. That is why they even took the dogs inside, not to risk their lives.
44 km (28 miles)
Beret’— Ust’ -mana
85 km (53 miles)
Mikhail Fateev from Tyumen was the first to finish the race. It took him 20 hours and 15 minutes to travel the distance of 340 km (211 miles). The next participant Arseny Turumin from Irkutsk came 32 minutes later. Grigory Vorontsov from Bratsk finished the race.
Here is what the youngest participant of the race, Arseny Turumin, told us:
“The most important thing is that we’ve made it through with zero-loss. This was my first dog sled race; I was only doing skijoring before. For me the hardest part was to suppress my ambitions. I wanted to shorten the race time by not taking any rest, but I did not do it, because I care about my dogs. After the first stage of the race couple of dogs started to limp slightly, but, luckily, there were no serious problems with paws. Still, by the end of the race two of my dogs came out of function – one was too tired to continue in a compatible speed, and the other probably has caught a cold before the race and could not show his paces. All things considered, it was an interesting race, maybe a little easier than the ones we have on the lake Baikal. I am going to practice a lot when I come back home, so that next year I can continue participating in long-distance races”.