Europe’s toughest dogsled race | DW Documentary

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The Finnmarksløpet in Norway is the longest and toughest dogsled race in Europe. Among this year’s competitors are Ben Voigt from Germany and 20-year-old native Hanna Lyrek. It’s a race that is always full of surprises and setbacks.
Participants face freezing temperatures, stormy weather and a lack of sleep. The Finnmarksløpet is to the Norwegians what the Tour de France is to the French, and it’s broadcast live on TV. Once they start out, the competitors or "mushers” only have their Alaskan huskies for company, and have to decide when to take breaks. Each team can have up to 14 dogs, with at least six having to make it to the finish. Given the tough conditions, Ben Voigt trains with his pack every day from August through late May. The German started mushing ten years ago after moving to Norway. He and his wife have 35 dogs in total at their home in Langfjordbotn.

Hanna Lyrek is a natural-born musher, having learned the art from her mother. Hanna competed in her first competition at the age of four - on her own. In 2018 she became the youngest ever entrant in the Finnmarksløpet, and this year she was among the favorites. Now 20, she’s among the best in the world - and her talents have also earned her welcome sponsorship.

This report follows the two mushers during training and the big event itself. They tell us about the vital relationships to their trusty animals, and the importance of adapting to their needs. Will they make it to the end of the grueling endurance race? And who will finish first?

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