THE FEMUND RACE AND THE FRIENDS OF THE FEMUND RACE
The beginning of it all
In 1989, by a huge bonfire at the shore of the Femunden lake, that the idea of a long distance sleddog race in this region was born. The trip was originally a sleddog training trip along the eastern shore of the lake in January 1989, it took place after the Røros race – which at that time was the local long distance race across 60 km – and a few weeks before the Finnmark Race. Torgeir Øren, Stein Håvard Fjestad and Odd Kjøsnes were out with their dogs, and by the bonfire that night the idea of a long distance race in this region was conceived. They all were immediately enthusiastic about the idea and started planning – and they wanted the race to take place the following winter.
The mushing environment in the Røros region back then mainly consisted of two kennels, each of which had 14-16 dogs. They got in touch with a natural partner for cooperation at Østre Æra outside Røros, where musher Anton Trøen and the owner of the local camping place were very interested in cooperating on this. Anton, together with Torgeir and Odd, became a vital person in realising what was named 'the Femund Race' at the first constitutive meeting. It was also decided to organise the race in a form that would allow it to take place independent of financing and sponsors. The race was to take place at any cost.
The plans were presented to Røros Dog Association, which took on itself the task of organising check point Røros during the 1990 Femund Race. Later the Røros Dog Association was the formal organiser of the Femund Race until the club 'Friends of the Femund Race' was founded in 2001.
The Femund Race 1990 started at Østre Æra. The first check point was Sølenstua, the second was Haugen Gård at Lake Femunden and the third check point and point of return was Røros. The very first race was in fact stopped half way through, at Røros, due to extremely mild weather and too much surface water on the lake. Interrupting the race only was a decision based on a vote among the mushers after a lengthy and heated discussion. It provided a steep learning curve for those who thought the Femund Race was there to stay!
Time was right for introducing a long distance sleddog race in southern Norway, and the first Femund Race had 41 starters, some in the 8-Dog Team Class and some in Open Class.
In 2009 the 20th Femund Race took place and in 2011 the first long distance World Championship was organised by the Femundløpets Venner. Countless hours of volunteer work have been put down and the mushers have faithfully lined up at the starting line, year in and year out. The race has grown steadily through all these years. In 2011 we once again hit an all-record high number of participants – and we are full of expectations for the future!
Femundløpet took a new step in history as a shareholder company was established and took over the organisation of the race after the 2011 event. The Femundløpet AS vision is to turn the Femundløpet into the most attractive long distance sleddog race in the World.
NB: The Friends of the Femund Race are looking for pictures and stories from the first races that took place. Please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org