Rules FL-600

Updated 27th February 2024

There Sports Committee of Finnmarksløpet is responsible for the special rules for Finnmarksløpet.

We ask you to take note of updated  NHF’s Long Distance Regulations. We ask participants to read through and understand this rule.

Finnmarksløpet is judged according to NHF’s Long Distance Regulations (LR), which can be found on the NHF’s website under the laws and regulations (http://www.sleddog.no) and the special rules set forth here. The following regulations and policies have been prepared which, in addition to the NHF`s LR, apply to Finnmarksløpet (FL):

Finnmarksløpet 600 shall be open to all participants who have qualified according to the requirements set by the Sports Committee for Finnmarksløpet. (See registration)

Finnmarksløpet is an international sled dog race with three classes. The FL-600 should not consist of more than 8, minimum 6 dogs at start, and min. 5 dogs on the finish line.

The goal of Finnmarksløpet is to conduct a sled dog competition where you will find out which participant and dogs who can return the race in the shortest possible time. The race is to be carried out only by means of the participant and the dog’s own forces, and without the help of others in the track and in the display area at the checkpoints. The participant with his dogs must be equipped to cope with different weather conditions that one can expect to meet in Finnmark. Finnmarksløpet takes place on nature’s premises, where weather and conditions can vary depending on where the participant is at all times. The participant must have good skills when it comes to outdoor activities and dog care. This in order to make the best possible reviews for themselves and their range along the way.

Information about the media / press under FL:

Media / Press shall relate to FL’s guidelines regarding contact / interview with the participant along the way. The following information will be provided to media / press:

The participant must enter the checkpoint, park the team, pick up the depot, take off booties, put the dogs on straw and start the kettle. Only after this is the participant available for media / press on request. However, photography and filming can take place at a distance, without disturbing the participant.

Special rules

#1 Dogs: All dogs participating in Finnmarksløpet must be chipped. In addition, each dog must be labeled with FL tag on the collar along the way during the course. Tags are provided on registration before the race. (It is recommended to put the tag on the dog’s collar on the start day)

#2 Start: In the FL-600, the teams start at 1 minute intervals. Draw of bib number will take place in October.

#3 Start number/ commercial: Participants are required to carry advertising / GPS tracking device on their own and / or on the sled. FL’s advertisement must be clearly visible to the participant’s hat throughout the course, including at start, finish, and prize ceremonies according to guidelines issued by Finnmarksløpet. FL-600 participants will carry their starting number clearly visible from start to checkpoint Kautokeino, as well as from Karasjok checkpoint to the finish line. The handler for each musher will use his own orange handler test at all checkpoints.

#4 Public road: It is not allowed to follow public roads on stretches other than the organizer has decided. Information will be given at the mushers meeting.

#5 Control stations (checkpoint):

FL-600 participant will personally check in (and out after mandatory rest) at the all checkpoints: Kautokeino – Jergul –  Levajok – Karasjok – Jotka

Jotka are staffed checkpoint.

Jotka have the same status as the other checkpoints in Finnmarksløpet but handlers can not access these checkpoints. Participants may be required to stop for veterinary checks at all checkpoints.

#6 Mandatory stop: The FL-600 has a minimum of 6 – six hours rest plus time-alligment at checkpoint Jergul.
A minimum of 6 – six hours must be taken at Karasjok checkpoint where there is a mandatory veterinary check.
The rest of the FL-600 will be registered in whole minutes.

Participant shall personally check in and out to complete all required stops.

The individual participant is responsible for the time-alligment being taken in Jergul.

#7 Depot: The following checkpoints are depot stations:

Kautokeino – Jergul – Levajok – Karasjok

 #8 Depot bag must be packed securely in whole sacks and marked clearly and readable with the name of the participant and the name of the depot station to which it is intended. IMPORTANT: Fuel for primus / cooker is not allowed in the storage bag. There is no limit for total weight, and the number of depot bags. Each bag cant be maximum 20 kg.

Depot shall be shipped out by the organizer.

Submission of depot bags – see the race program for further information. The participants must lift their bags on the loading plane, as well as tick off on the form together with the official how many bags are delivered to each checkpoint. Bags on the ground will be left behind. The depot trucks run from Alta on Thursday at 15:00 hrs/3 p.m. Information about the depot system is available at the registration office. FL is not responsible for the participants’ depot bags at the event of warm weather, loose dogs or similar.

 #9 Equipment: Outsiders / handlers shall not be involved with the depot other than placing / collecting equipment at the depot site at the checkpoint.

Equipment for this purpose includes: Anchor – dog coats – blanket – batteries – wrist wraps – heat ointment – booties – foot ointment – runner plastic – simple hand tools – harness -primus fuel/red spirits – hay* (to use in between checkpoints). This equipment must be placed in the designated storage area in soft packaging (plastic bags or similar). Everything that is delivered to the participant in this way can be controlled by the TD / Race manager.

Forbidden to use straw in the trail/between checkpoints.

*Hay used between checkpoints: Hay must be packaged in a separate sack and can be taken from handler car to depot area. Hay from handler car can be used between checkpoints. If hay is been used outside checkpoints, it must be transported back to next checkpoint by participant.

Everything that the participant leaves at checkpoint shall be brought to the depot place by the participant and can be collected by handler.

#10 Help / Assistance: At the control stations, it is not allowed to receive any other assistance to the team than the necessary assistance in steering and braking, unless otherwise determined by TD / Race Manager.

 #11. Dogs / checkpoints:

#11 A: At the control stations it is not permitted to bring dogs into a house, dog box or similar, except for potential veterinary examination. However, the participant may take the dog (s) into his own tent if such is brought on the sled from the start.

#11 B: The Event veterinarian, shall have the absolute authority over the dog team participating in Finnmarksløpet.

Event veterinarian, TD and/or Race managers has the authority to disqualify dogs from participating in the race. Both before start and during the race.
They’re decisions about taking dog or dogs out of the race or other decisions related to dog care and animal welfare should be final.

All dogs will be looked at and / or checked, as far as possible, at all checkpoints.

The Event veterinarian of the race can alone or together with the Race manager or TD can hold back a dog team at any checkpoint if it is required in order to maintain dog welfare and health.

No dog team can leave a checkpoint before the dogs in that team are fit and able to continue the race.

 #11 C: The team / dogs must leave the stalling area / check point without use of force. It is forbidden to pull the dogs from the stalling area / checkpoint when the team is to leave the checkpoint.

 #12 Animal welfare and health

The Event veterinarian has an independent, superior authority and control function. The Event veterinarian must secure the necessary auxiliary personnel, including more veterinarians if necessary. The main task of the race veterinarian is to: – check that all dogs are healthy and fit to start or continue the race – decide that dogs may not start or must end the race. This can be done in consultation with TD/jury – decide that the race should be interrupted, postponed, changed or cancelled. This can possibly be done in consultation with TD/jury. (3.6 NHF)

FL is to be conducted with a particular focus on the welfare and health of the dogs. FL as organizers and FL participants both carry mutual responsibility for the race dogs.

1) The participant in Finnmarksløpet is responsible for caring, feeding and maintaining the welfare and health of their dogs according to the needs of the dog at all times. The dogs and other participants’ dogs must be treated with respect and kindness. Participants should mush and manage their race in accordance with their own dogs’ fitness, physical and health preconditions and status, and take into account how weather and conditions affect the dogs during the race.

2) Dogs that are injured during the race or not suited to continue due to other health issues and / or conditions are to be transported on the sled to the next checkpoint for assessment by FL veterinarians.

Dogs that FL race veterinarians are considered to be unable to participate further shall be dropped.

Lame dogs must be transported in the sled to the nearest checkpoint / destination. Dogs shall not be lame when arriving at or leaving a checkpoint or the finish line.

3) Dogs that throw them selves (fall over) shall never continue in team, but must be brought in the sled to the next checkpoint and dropped.

Dogs that are or have been overheated shall never continue in team, but must be brought in the sled to the next checkpoint and dropped.

Violation of the rule #12 may cause the participant to be disqualified.

FL Race Veterinarians will be available at all checkpoints, and provide the same service to all dogs participating in the race. The race veterinarians shall at all times, to the best of their ability, investigate and perform adequate treatment of all dogs participating in the race based on medical and diagnostic equipment available, local premises and field conditions available.

 #13 Dead dog: If a dog dies on trail between checkpoints during the race, it shall be brought to the first upcoming checkpoint or to the previous checkpoint. The dog is to be transported in the sled and to be covered on arrival at the checkpoint. The participant shall notify the Event veterinarian, Race manager or TD as soon as possible. The participant may only continue following permission provided by TD, Race manager or/and Event veterinarian. The participant may be disqualified from further participation if it appears from the investigation that the participant has been guilty of mistreating the dog or otherwise caused the dog’s death. The participant can also be disqualified if death is due to dehydration or overheating. The start and finish line are also considered stations/checkpoints in this context. If an autopsy is required, this should not be financially charged to the participant.

Race manager and Event veterinarian can decide, at certain climate conditions, that a dead dog may be collected outside of checkpoint if this is necessary to ensure sample quality for an eventual autopsy.

 #14 Help between checkpoints: No external help or assistance is allowed between the control stations. Exceptions are emergency situations and sled wrecking beyond what is possible to repair on site. In such cases, TD / Race manager shall be notified and must approve such assistance.

 #15 Care: All dog care and feeding, equipment check, must be done in field manner, and shall only be carried out by the participant in the designated area at the checkpoints. It is only permitted to collect cold water for the preparation of dog food. Cold water can be picked up in a field water can / bucket. When using a refrigeration bag or similar equipment, this must be carried in the sled all the way from the start, or shipped with a depot in FL’s depot. Cooling bag or similar equipment that has been removed from the designated / marked area can not be brought back in.

 #16 Dropped dog: It is possible to drop dogs on all checkpoints.

Participants can drop dogs in Sorrisniva approx. 15 km after start. (Not applicable on return) Dog(s) is to be delivered to an FL official. The participant shall immediately instruct his handler to pick up the dog in Sorrisniva as soon as possible.

All dogs dropped from the race must undergo a mandatory veterinary check at the checkpoint where the dog was dropped. Participant is responsible for the check being carried out, but may leave this responsibility with his/her handler. At checkpoint Jotka, the participant is responsible for ensuring that any dropped dog has undergone a mandatory veterinary check.

All dogs taken out of the race must have a mandatory veterinary check and be entered in the veterinary journal “journal dropped dog”. The reason for dropping the dog shall be entered, and the veterinary check on the dog / s shall be signed by one of the FL race vets. If the participant scratch the race between two chekpoints they have to contact FL veterinary on the last checkpoint, or the next checkpoint/finishline to check out the dogs/team before it is approved.

The participant must mark the dog taken out in the veterinary book “journal team”. If a participant scratches from the race, all dogs in the team must be checked by the veterinarian at the checkpoint where the participant scratches. Veterinary check is mandatory and must be signed in the veterinary journal “journal team”

Participants who scratch from the race and have not completed and signed compulsory veterinary checks in the veterinary book “journal team” on dogs / dogs or will automatically be disqualified.

Veterinary book “journal team” shall be follow the participant’s sled throughout the course and “journal dropped dog” shall be in the handler’s car throughout the race. Dogs dropped at checkpoint are to be handed over to the handler/support car.

Dogs dropped at checkpoint Jotka must be dropped along with sufficient dog food for the next 24 hours. Dropped dog at Jotka must be picked up by the participant/handler at the nearest road in agreement with the checkpoint/organiser.

 #17 Veterinary Control and Dog Health Control:
Compulsory health check before start: All dogs participating in Finnmarksløpet must be subject to a mandatory health check before starting. All rookies must take this check with FL veterinarian in Alta before the race starts. 

Mandatory veterinary checks:

There is one mandatory veterinary check at Karasjok, in addition to compulsory veterinary checks at the finish line.

Mandatory veterinary checks must cover at least the dog’s general condition, respiratory and circulatory system, digestive system, liquid balance and body condition (BCS) check.

Veterinary check of the team is also mandatory for dogs of scratched teams to be taken at the checkpoint where the participant scratches.

The participant is responsible for having compulsory veterinary checks signed in his veterinary journal journal team by one of the FL race veterinarians.

In addition to the mandatory veterinary checks, regular veterinary checks are conducted by race veterinarians at all FL checkpoints where the participant stops.  A team running through the checkpoint shall have a minimum of the regular veterinary inspection by race veterinarians at the next checkpoint. However, FL Events veterinarian, race veterinarian TD and Race manager have the authority to demand that a dog or a team be examined where there is doubt about the health of a dog or a dog team, or its ability to continue the race. This applies regardless of whether the musher plans to stop at the checkpoint or not.

All dogs that are checked in the competition in a mandatory health check must also be checked out of the competition, regardless of whether they are in the team or taken out of the competition before the finish line.

For dogs to proceed the race must have normal temperature and hydration, normal appetite, normal respiratory and circulatory system findings, a minimum BCS of 2.50 and be otherwise healthy and free from injuries.

Re-check: Check-out is a new veterinary check of a single dog or team where race veterinarians consider this necessary to maintain the health of the dog/s in the best possible way. A re-check can be ordered to be completed at the checkpoint where the participant is located and / or at the next checkpoint the participant arrives at. The completed check-up must be signed by one of the race veterinarians, and the musher is responsible for having the re-check completed and having it signed in the veterinary journal team.

A participant who refuses to have veterinary checks, leaves the checkpoint or arrives at the finish lie without having had conducted, signed and approved mandatory veterinary checks and re-check will automatically be disqualified.

There is a mandatory veterinary check at the end of the race which must be approved before the participant is granted completed race status.

The veterinary books “journal team” and “journal dropped dog” must be submitted to one of the FL veterinarians after the finish line, or in the case of scratching: at the checkpoint where the participant scratches from the race.

Veterinary treatment of dogs before the start.
Participants who bring dogs that have been treated by a veterinarian / where treatment was completed within 28 days before starting at Finnmarksløpet shall:

– Present the dog to examination by one of FL Race veterinarians.

– Bring documentation (epicrisis/medical history) from the treating veterinarian to the race veterinarian of Finnmarksløpet.

The documentation shall contain an assessment based on the event and the treatment given responsible to allow the dog to start the FL race based from a welfare and health perspective.

If such an assessment can not be clarified at the time of treatment, the treating veterinarian may give race veterinarian final assessment authority.

If the treating veterinarian finds it not to be responsible for the dog to start the Finnmarksløpet, it will not start.

A race vet may, upon examination of the dog / s before starting, override the approval of the treating veterinarian if the veterinarian finds it irresponsible that the dog / s start/s the Finnmarksløpet.

A dog that has been diagnosed and treated for pneumonia shall not start until 3 months after the completion of treatment. If the disease is nearer than 6 months back in time, the dog must be approved for start by race veterinarians.

Finnmarksløpet follows the current doping regulations of NHF and IFSS. Updated doping rules are available on NHF websites in subsection anti-doping.

 #18 Violation of rules committed by participants, handler (s) or other outside parties may result in disqualification of the participant. If a participant or someone from the participant’s handler team acts improperly towards FL officials / volunteers, other participants, press or spectators, this can result in disqualification of the participant.

 #19 Securing dogs in races

1) There must be wire in the mainline / centerline, all wire must be padded.

2) All dogs in the team must be fastened with backline and neck line if using long harness. Neck line is not required for the lead dogs.

3) If the participant are using short harnesses, the back lines of the short harnesses must be properly secured against the dogs in the team not biting it off. When using short harnesses, necklines are not required. The backlines of short harnesses should be made of padded wire. The backlines should be no longer than 40 cm when using short harnesses.

Note: The participant and his dog team must have trained with short harnesses before racing. Participants who race with short harnesses should not inconvenience other participants during the race.

4) All participants must, however, secure their dogs at check point / rest using wire necklines that are at least 40 cm long. Backlines made of padded wire (short harness) can be used as a neckline at checkpoint.

5) When racing in reindeer areas, the participant is responsible for ensuring that the dogs in the range do not cause injury to the reindeer. The participant is liable for damages if a dog causes direct injury to the reindeer.

6) Participants can be disqualified if in violation of rule #19

7) Participants with short harnesses must have an additional line set with necklines available in the support car in order to be able to swap when needed. Replacement must be approved by TD/Race manager.

 #20 Reflex: The sled must have reflector markings (minimum 10 cm) on both sides of the handlebar, also back at the seat and the trailer which should be clearly visible in the dark.

There must be reflex markings on the neckline of the lead dog (s) or on the neckline between the lead dogs. The participant must always be well-labeled with reflex on the front and back of jacket.

#21 Runner plastic: Runner plastic can be shipped in a depot bag or with an outside party/support car. Only participants are allowed to change their runner plastic.

 #22 Sled: The participant’s sled should be able to carry the participant and all the equipment. Sled and packing bag shall be large enough to accommodate at least 1 dog tucked inside the sled bag as well as mandatory equipment. The seat is a part of the sled. This will be controlled prior to race start.

#23 Change of sled: In addition to this, it is possible to swap empty sled against empty sledge two (2) times. The participant can take the trailer in and out as they wish without it being registered as a sled exchange.

(FL recommends using special dog bags for transporting dogs in the sled).

#24 Repair of sled: If a participant wishes to take an empty sled out of the stalling and depot area to repairs the sled, this must be approved by TD / race manager / checkpoint manager

If a sled is broken beyond what is possible to repair, it is possible to replace the sled. Replacement must be approved by TD / Race manager.

Simple hand tools for sled repairs can be brought into the checkpoint by the participant.

#25 No-man’s land stretches from the bridge in Øvre Alta (slightly below Strand Camping) and to the finish line.

 #26 Rookie / First time mushers: The participant must complete the race and pass the finish line of the Finnmarksløpet, to cancel rookie status. The participant holds rookie status when the participant starts in a new class for the first time, regardless of whether the participant has completed FL in another class.

 #27 Poles: It is only permitted to use one (1) pole/stake equipment from checkpoint Jergul at the earliest. The participant must then bring poles with them in the sled from the start. Poles cannot be supplemented during the race. When using poles, the participant must show great consideration for other participants and their dogs/dog teams

#28 Participants’ suitability for the completion of the race. Finnmarksløpet represented by the Race manager and / or the jury may withdraw a participant from further completion of the race. This to safeguard the interests and safety of the dogs, the participant, and / or the organizer. The withdrawing of a participant shall be justified in the dogs’ or participant’s safety and suitability for further participation.

#29 Garbage/Litter

All forms of littering along the trail may lead to disqualification for the participant. This includes dog booties and dog food!

#30 MANDATORY EQUIPMENT
Participants must always carry the following mandatory equipment (this can be checked at checkpoints as well as on trail.) The participant may be disqualified if compulsory equipment is lacking or flawed:

  • GPS with map and marked trail (the coordinates will be posted on Finnmarksløpets webpages)
  • Veterinary book “journal team”. “Journal dropped dog” should be in the handler’s car.
  • Compass
  • Snow shovel
  • Ax or big knife
  • Winter sleeping bag for extreme conditions – suited for minimum -30C or comfort -25C
  • First aid kit
  • Extreme winter clothing (w / reflectors that are clearly visible in the dark, front and back)
  • Extra clothes change (underwear and outerwear, socks and winter shoes)
  • 8 booties per dog, including those in use
  • Headlight and batteries
  • Lightstick AND signal pen (minimum one must be in pocket on the body)
  • Wire or chain for dog dropped and delivered to checkpoint manager. There must be one wire per dog in the team – min. 40 cm. Tug line with wire is approved for this use. When resting, the entire team should be attached to an assembly line with wire or chain from the collar.
  • Reserve food for the dogs for at least 24 hours, 500 grams per dog, packed separately, sealed by the organizer and under normal circumstances to be brought unused to the finish line.
  • Reserve food for musher for at least 24 hours. Must consist of at least 500 grams.
  • Operating cooker (see description) with container for heating minimum ½ liter of water per liter. dog.
  • Big garbage bags
  • Extreme Wind bag. Minimum weight is 1200 grams
  • Or alternatively to extreme wind bag: Tent and regular windbag
  • Rope to attach the participant to the sled in areas where there may be reindeer.

Mandatory equipment that is lost or destroyed may be supplemented / replaced from depot bag / outsiders. The equipment must be submitted to TD / Race manager in order to pre-approve the replacement. Used dog booties, batteries, trash bags, fuel for cooker / primus are excluded and may be replaced if necessary from the depot bag / outsiders.

Comments from the Sports Committee regarding some of the compulsory equipment:

Participants, and especially rookies, should read these carefully. It is important to notice that TD / Race manager is in his/her full right to approve or reject equipment.

Reserve food for dog and participant: To be used approx. 24 hours after the participant has left the checkpoint and is resting between two checkpoints. Therefore, the participant must bring enough food and snacks for the first 24 hours to both himself and the dogs.

Snow shovel: This must be of good quality so that it can withstand hard and icy snow and for it to be suitable for digging a protective hole in the snow for yourself.

Ax or big knife: Many tape a big, sharp knife into the sled. Nevertheless, make sure you also carry a knife on your body. A knife or ax should have a minimum length of more than 30 cm.

First Aid Kit: Only single package does not hold. Minimum contents is bandaids, sports tape, single pack bandage, gauze and painkillers (prescription-free). It is recommended that your first aid kit be packed waterproof, such as in plastic bag.

Extra clothes for changing: The underwear must be of the long type. Recommended outerwear is windproof trousers and jacket, good socks and footwear that keep your feet warm.

Operating cooker: For it to be operational means that you from all stations have both matches and enough red spirit or ignition spirits (at least 1 liter). Matches should be in waterproof packaging.

Dogfood bowls and food ladle are to be in the sled from the start. That is not possible to get this from the support car.

Important: It is recommended you pack extra clothing, sleeping bag and windproof bag in waterproof packaging.

OTHER:

Primus has been removed from compulsory equipment. However, it is recommended to bring a primus if you also bring a tent.

The cooker is an alternative to heating / boiling water, (melting snow), but is a bad option inside a tent.

Sleeping mat: Strongly recommended. Avoid cooling from lying on the snow. Easily packed by laying it on the bottom of the packing bag throughout the length of the sled. Repair equipment: We recommend you have various equipment to perform simple repairs in the field. These can be multi-tools, strips, thin strong rope, strong tape.

TRAIL GOES THROUGH REINDEER AREAS. THE DOGS SHOULD BE HELD UNDER STRICT CONTROL AND NEVER BE LOOSE. PARTICIPANTS WHO ARE OBSERVED WITH LOOSE DOG (S) WILL BE IMMEDIATELY DISCUALIFIED.

PARTICIPANTS WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR DAMAGES CAUSED BY HIS / HER DOGS.

WHEN RACING DISTANCES ALONG WHICH ONE MAY MEET REINDEER, THE PARTICIPANT SHALL BE TIED TO THE TEAM/SLED BY ROPE OR SIMILAR.

All participants shall, according to their best ability, seek to carry out a long distance competition on their level based on the resources they possess.

A participant who chooses to scratch from the race must notify the race management as soon as possible and is responsible for the transport of himself, his dogs and his equipment and the depot from the checkpoints.

A search for a participant will normally be started approx. 24 hours after last contact. Unnecessary stays between checkpoints should therefore be avoided.

A dog found in the sled when the participant arrives at a checkpoint is not dropped from the race unless the musher so wishes.

The musher may sit on the sled.

Protest must be notified immediately after you cross the finish line to the TD/Race manager. Then the protest must be submitted in writing no later then 120 minutes after your own finish to the TD/Race manager. The protest fee will be 100,- NOK

Happy trails!