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Nothing could stop the Swede

March 17, 2018 | 11:20 am

Birgitte Næss passed Swedish Petter Karlsson by after two of his dogs decided to mate on the trail at Jotka lake; however, 
she was unable to keep him behind her all the way to the finish line.

Petter Karlsson had a big smile on his face after winning FL-1200.

Late Friday night, Swedish Petter Karlsson claimed his second victory in Finnmarksløpet in
the last three years. He also won the race in 2016.

Many thought everything was settled when Petter Karlsson left the last checkpoint with a lead
of one hour and 52 minutes.

Birgitte Næss came in second and won the Norwegian Championship.

But two of the Swede’s dogs decided to mate a few kilometers after Jotka, the last checkpoint before the  finish line in Alta. Birgitte Næss slowly caught up to Karlsson, and finally passed him when 1150 of the race’s 1209 kilometers were completed.

Karlsson eventually got his team to start again, and began chasing Næss. Næss’ speed slowed down, while Karlsson’s increased. Down at the Alta river, Karlsson managed to pass Næss, taking a lead position that he managed to keep until the finish line in Alta, where he was cheered on by a large crowd of locals and visitors to area.

– It was amazing. The dog that decided to mate has normally been unable to be part of mating when it has been planned and attempted previously. It is really a very good dog, the happy Swede after he had crossed the finish line.

FL-1200 is also a Norwegian Championship-distance, and because of this, Birgitte Næss claimed the gold in this class.

Long distance sled dog racing is very popular in Finnmark. The race, which has been on since last Friday, has been hard on both two legged and four legged participants, but they have been cheered on by an enthusiastic audience in Finnmark.

About Finnmarksløpet:

  • A unique sled dog race that challenges mushers and dogs through 1,200 kilometers in Norway’s largest genuine wilderness.
  • Finnmarksløpet was first arranged in 1981, with three teams at the start.
  • In 2001, Finnmarskløpet was established as a limited company. Since then, the race has been professionalized, going from a small sports event to being the largest sports- and cultural even in the region.
  • Since 2009, Norwegian broadcaster NRK has had daily TV shows from the race, with an average of 400,000 viewers and a viewer share of up to 50 %.
  • The web page has almost a million hits once the game is on, much due to the result page and the GPS-tracking, which make it possible to track the participants throughout the race.
  • Finnmarksløpet 2018 had 129 participants from 16 nations, and over 600 volunteers.