The term “home run” has hardly ever been a more suitable than this year, when 15-year old Elisabeth Kristensen won the World Championship at the Finnmark Race Junior Class. She was the fastest musher on the final leg, taking her from her home – Jotka Mountain Cabin – and to the finish line in Alta.
Growing up at the potentially most famous checkpoint of the Finnmark Race comes with a committment. Elisabeth Kristensen is the daughter of musher Steinar Kristensen, mountain cabin caretaker at the popular hub on the Finnmark Plains.
– Finally my turn
Both her father Steinar and her older sister Ulrikke raced the FL-600 race in 2022. Elisabeth has joined the Children’s Finnmark Race since she was six years old. This year is the first year in which she is old enough to participate in the junior class.
– It was finally my turn to race. It would be great if dad were here when I arrived at the finish line. After all, I race with his dogs and he has taught me everything about mushing, Elisabeth said after finishing the race in Alta.
Her father Steinar is out on the trail in the longer FL-1200 race and can be expected at the finish line in six days.
– I would love to go out there and follow dad along the trail, but I have to go to school tomorrow, so I’m afraid I can’t, she said.
The Nannestad girl Eline Andrea Andersen finished second in the FL-junior Race 2023, securing the silver medal of the World Championship – one she can place next to her Norwegian Champion medal that she won earlier this winter. Only 12 minutes separated the two first contestants at the finish line.
The battle about the World Championship bronze medal was even tighter. After having covered 200 kilometers in the Finnmark wilderness, Mina Hykkerud from Alta arrived barely in front Ylva-Li Næss when reaching the finish line in Alta – a race so close that it hasn’t been seen since 2010. The Alta girl secured the third place and the World Championship bronze medal.
Why do the girls dominate the junior class?
– Women have, overall, a series of good results in the history of the Finnmark Race, so it is no surprise that they dominate the junior class this year. In 2015, the Finnmark Race also held the World Championship status. Back then, all four classes were won by women, says the Finnmark Race’s Head of Communications Trond Anton Andersen.
Just like the FL-1200 and the FL-600, the Fl-junior also holds the status of IFSS Worldl Championship 2023. This means that the contestants compete about World Championship medals, glory and honor in addition to a series of great prizes.
The main prize for the FL-junior winner is one year’s consumption of dog food for a six-dog team worth NOK 42 000/€ 4 200. In addition the winner receives a Laika dog backpack worth NOK 3 400/€ 340, provided by Arctic Lavvo. The silver medal winner receives dog food worth NOK 15 000/€ 1 500 from Appetitt, in addition to a Laika dog backpack worth NOK 3 400/€ 340, provided by Arctic Lavvo. The bronze medal winner wins dog food worth NOK 10 000/€ 1 000 and a Laika dog backpack worth NOK 3 400/€ 340, provided by Arctic Lavvo. The remaining mushers receive gift cards from the Finnmark Race web shop.