Media Release

On February 16-22, 2019 the annual International North Hope Stage Sled Dog Race for the benefit of children will take place in Neya area, Kostroma region, Russia for the 12th consecutive year. The oldest race in European Russia, a legend, a breakthrough, a trophy race on the list of every serious mid-distance musher of the country, a trial by fire for every rookie, a family – for everyone who has ever run it.

The vector of the 2019 race is traditions and stability. Having proved itself as a fearless pioneer and trend-setter, the 2019 race will focus on honing the skills, in-depth development of the existing format that has been searched for for over 10 years. Thorough analysis of the mushers’ needs and of general tendencies in the sport, adoption and adaption of the experience of the North American and European experience – this is what the existing format is based on and this is why it has proved to be optimal. Stability as a sign of maturity, a plato allowing the event to fulfill itself at full breath.

NH 2019 will offer the following to its mushers and spectators:

  • 340 km overall distance divided into 6 stages ranging from 40 to 90 km each;
  • a format of the North Hope Light Race that has been so succesful last year: the Light mushers will cover 170 km – a half of the main distance – running parallel with the participants of the main event with the stage milages cut in half from the main distances ranging between 30 – 45 km each. This way the Light race is naturally integrated into the main event, offering adequate distances to rookies, giving a chance to experience a mid-distance race in full and participate in all additional events within the race and, on top of it, be part of a big awards ceremony in the end;
  • the favourite part among NH mushers and a climatic scene of the race in many regards – the unassisted overnight campout checkpoint as a key element of mid-distance mushing;
  • new top-notch members of the race official team and new guests of honour; 
  • extending the educational part of the race – holding the Rookie meeting with a serious program of seminars and presentations before the race;
  • North Hope Post – a fundraiser project allowing to send an exclusive postcard from the race to any part of the planet.
  • new charity concept

Traditionally the race will be open with a Ceremonial start along the town streets of Neya and the charity ride for the children from the Neya orphanage, physically challenged children of the region, students of the Sunday school and winners of the Sled Dog Through Kids Eyes art contest. The children will give some hand-made good-luck charms for their mushers to keep. The charms will be included in the list of mandatory gear for all the stages of the race and will have to cross the finish line together with the teams. Skijorers and pulka drivers will take part in a bright parade with children and dogs, representing their regions.

The race preparations are in full swing, the ideas are running before the hounds, and even though each step is a challenge, something beyond ourselves makes the minds create, hearts connect, hands do.

On behalf of the organizers, we would like to thank everyone who hasn’t given up on us as well as everyone who has challenged us with doubt. We would like to thank those who look forward for the sign up to begin each year, those who have just joined in and those who are only thinking of giving it a try. The atmosphere of unprecedented love and warmth around the race pays off all the efforts, motivates and guarantees the result. 

In conditions of the tight racing calendar this year we would like to give special thanks to the NH veterans – for your loyalty, to the NH newcomers – for your trust, to the NH volunteers and race officials – for your friendship and professionalism, to NH sponsors and partners – for your support, to the skies – for the snow, guidance and all the wonders.