Harald Tonheim wins the 600km Finnmark race and becomes world champion – NRK Sport – Sports news, results & broadcast schedule

Harald Tonheim wins the 600km Finnmark race and becomes world champion – NRK Sport – Sports news, results & broadcast schedule

In the 27th time Tonheim races in Finnmark, he not only takes first place on the podium – he also becomes the world champion in long-distance dog sledding in his class.

The Veteran was a huge favorite this year, and for good reason. The 64-year-old has won six times in the past, once in the 500km race and five times in the 1000km race.

Now he won again, after 600 kilometers behind the sled.

– This is a great team that just went and went. They kept up a great pace the whole time. The last world champion said shortly after the finish line that it’s a pleasure to be behind a team like this.

Freezing: Tunheim has been outside in minus 30 temps since last night.

Photo: Hanne Wilhelms/NRK

With this victory in the Finnmark race, he becomes the oldest person to win the Finnmark race and the first to win in four different decades.

When you start with passion, Tonheim said, you have no sense of stopping.

He was a driver with an icy, hard mustache who made it to the finish line, having driven in temperatures of minus 30 degrees since last night.

– I can feel something hanging there, Tonheim laughed about the hardened mustache, – and added:

– The temperature was between 20-30 degrees Celsius all the time over the plain, and it was below 23 degrees below the river. So he was cool, but calm and sweet.

Harald Tonheim wins the 2023 Finnmark FL600

Alaskan Husky: Tunheim has bred racing dogs for years and says she’s used to running fast. Therefore, they took a solid lead over the WC competitors.

Photo: Hanne Wilhelms/NRK

Full thrust into the bucket

According to the driver himself, this year he’s had dogfights in front of the sled.

– It’s been tough all the way. Once they rested and ate, they were ready again—and then continued cooking. It’s been a dream team for me this year,” Tonheim said as he entered Karagok on Monday morning.

It has lasted perfectly. His team maintained the highest period of time during the race, with an average speed of 14.7 km/h.

– Dog racing is about breeding and for many decades I have bred dogs that walk easily – so they are allowed to go at their own pace which is natural for them. Then the speed will be high, but at the same time adapted to the dogs, Tonheim explained after the finish line.

This meant that relatively early on in the contest, it was clear who would emerge victorious in the contest.

Harald Tonheim wins the 2023 Finnmark FL600

VICTORY HUG: In the end zone, a roommate was waiting to give the latest world champion a good hug.

Photo: Hanne Wilhelms/NRK

Since it is at the checkpoint in Karasjok, you can see how the hit list will most likely end up in the end.

Tunheim Karasjok entered at 1.29pm on Monday, while ‘rookie’ Eskil Knag came in at 15.26 – that gave Tunheim almost two hours early.

At this checkpoint there is a compulsory rest of six hours. Tunheim can then drive from Karasjok towards Alta as early as 19.29 Monday evening.

– It’s absolutely perfect. You want to have such a guide in Karajuk, Tunheim said satisfied before the rest at the checkpoint, you know that unless something unexpected happens, it is difficult to catch up with the drive.

Before he got out of Karasjok, he released his first dog in this year’s race, a small dog who ran for the first time and pulled the muscles in his thighs.

Harald Tonheim's smile level

Minus Degrees: When I started Tunheim from Karascuk on Monday evening, the temperature was minus 25 degrees below zero. Temperatures remained low on the scale until the very end, here in Sorrisniva just below Altaelva.

Photo: Hanne Wilhelms/NRK

The “Rookie” is in second place

At 08.20, driver Eskil Knag crossed the finish line in Finnmarksløpet for the first time with five of the eight dogs in the team – and one dog in the sled.

– It’s been a long journey and it’s been a difficult phase. I wasn’t quite sure it would make it to the finish – until I was on the ice in Altaelva, the silver medalist said shortly after the finish line.

– I must admit that I had to make a phone call to find out where the others were behind me, because I didn’t feel safe, he added.

The 48-year-old had driven 450 and 650 kilometers in Femundløpet previously, where he ended up sixth. He has been driving dogs since the 80’s.

He has now finished second on the World Championships podium in Long Distance Dog Skiing, having finished second at the Finnmarksløpet 600.

Skill King

Silver: Eskil Knag won silver at the World Dog Ski Long Distance Championships and 2nd in the Finnmark.

Photo: Hanne Wilhelms/NRK

The driver has marked the lead throughout.

– I ran my own race and didn’t think much about progressing along the way, but then I realized this could very well be.

– But I realized early on that I shouldn’t think so much about Harald, Knag said of the winner of the 600 km race.

Eskil Knag salutes competitor Harald Tonheim in the Finnmark race

WC Rivals: Harald Tonheim brought his team to cheer on Eskil Knag to second place in Finnmark.

Photo: Anders H. Abrahamsen / Finnmarksløpet

Complete pallet

The lead had been racing for the past 24 hours in a bone-chilling competition, and it was Jean-Carry Heiberg who escaped with the final podium spot.

“It cost a bit,” Heiberg admitted after passing the goal.

– But these dogs are quite raw, he added shortly thereafter.

The 41-year-old from Gjøvik is taking part in his fifth Finnmark race.

Two of his dogs in the pack, Buffin (10) and Opie (8), had previously run into second place with Birgitte Næss.

This will probably be the last year that seasoned dog veteran Boffin will run the competition.

Jan Kåre Heiberg finished third at the Finnmarksløpet 600

PALL PLACE: Jan-Kåre Heiberg didn’t think he’d make it to the finish line, after suffering stomach diarrhea along the way. He saluted the gang in front of the sled after the finish line.

Photo: Hanne Wilhelms/NRK

He also suffers from diarrhea in his stomach.

– I sat in Karasjok yesterday and thought we wouldn’t get out of there, but it went well, – said an affected driver.

Heiberg and the dogs have good and extensive experience from long-distance racing in Norway. Five of the dogs were brought in, while one sat in the sled.

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Najuma Ojukwu

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