The Longest Dogsled Races in the World

At the end of January, the longest dog sled race in the lower 48, the Beargrease, ran up Minnesota’s north shore and culminated in an exciting finish between Keith Aili and Ryan Anderson. It’s an amazing race with a variety of trail types and terrain over the course of its more than 300 miles. But how does our big race stack up against some of the other marathon races across the country and across the world? Let’s find out.

The Iditarod is of course the most famous dog sled race perhaps anywhere. It’s featured in articles, movies, documentaries and it’s one of the few races that mushers, dogsport enthusiasts, and people completely unfamiliar with the sport are all familiar with. It’s also the longest continually run dogsled race in the world with a distance of 1049 miles. The Iditarod was started as a race in 1973, building on some of the history of dogsleds making deliveries and mail runs across the north.

The Kobuk 440 is an annual race stretching back to 1988. It runs from Kotzebue Sound inland to Kobuk before turning back to finish where it started, a 400 mile route.

The Yukon Quest 1000 was another 1000 mile race but that class has not been run since 2020. Their longest race this season is a 450 mile race from Whitehorse to Dawson City.

The Canadian Challenge is the longest race to start and finish in Canada with an approximately 370 mile course. The race starts on the edge of Prince Albert National Park and winds north crossing Montreal Lake and part of Lake La Ronge finishing at Missinipe on the shores of Otter Lake.

Dog sled races are certainly not just a North American sport. Mushing is predictably popular in the Scandinavian regions and, not surprisingly, the longest race in Europe is held there. The Finnmarksløpe is a 745 mile race held in far northern Norway. The longest class of race starts from the Alta Fjord and works south to Kautokeino before turning east towards the Finnish border following that north. It splits off towards Varanger Fjord, then down pretty much to the Russian border before taking a similar, parallel trail back to the Alta Fjord.

The Femundløpet is another Norwegian race running some 370 miles starting and finishing in Røros, Norway.

In France, La Grande Odyssée VVF, a race started in 2005, runs 560 miles through the French Alps, from Portes du Soleil to Haute-Maurienne.
Meanwhile, in Russia, the Volga Quest, runs some 340 miles along the Volga River. It runs along the river between various communities before concluding at the city of Kazan.

In the remote regions of Kamchatka runs a race called the Beringia which holds the record as the longest sled dog race in the world. The route it takes has changed a number of times over the years, but the 1992 running saw the route exceed 2000 km or 1200 miles. The race has been run every year since 1990 and this year, 2023, it is getting a new route. The 2021 race was a little over 600 miles long and utilized a finishing point that could only be reached by air and in certain conditions . This year’s start and finish should be more accessible, smoothing out the logistics of such a long distance race.

Other notable races include the Race to the Sky in Montana, the Vindelälvsdraget in Sweden, Pasvik Trail in Norway, the Ivakkak in Quebec, amongst so many others. Dog sled racing is truly a world wide sport. 


Author Bio:

Riley Smith

Riley is the Director of Community Engagement and Public Relations for Portage North and Sundog Sport. He comes from a background in wilderness programing and environmental education with four years of BWCA outfitting and guiding before taking this role. In his free time, he can be found out canoeing, hiking, snowshoeing, capturing photography, and writing.
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