representing Great Britain
Representing Great Britain at the World's premier races is a huge honour. To quote the Olympic Ice Hockey coach "The name on the front is a hell of a lot more important than the one on the back!". Great Britain and the Union Jack being represented in Dogsled Sport is something Mel hopes will inspire other winter sports athletes, especially women. Successfully finishing premier races dominated by Norwegians, Americans and other snow blessed nations has been incredibly tough, with many hurdles, barriers, tears & fears along the way. Mel believes success is 90% perseverance and the rewards for that British determination are wonderful. Mel was ranked the UK number 1 in 2013, 2014 & 2016, holding the British Champion title.
2016 Finnmark Race 1000km withdrew
2016 Femund Race 600km 12 dogs 19th/50
2016 Gruve Race 160km 10 dogs 3rd/30
2016 Gruve Race 160km (yearling team)
2016 Gausdal Marathon 200km 12 dogs 17th/26
2016 Gausdal Marathon 200km (yearling team)
2015 Gruve Race 160km 14 dogs 11th/70
2014 Femund Race 600km 12 dogs 25th/52
2014 Gruve Race 160km 14 dogs 7th/70
2014 Gausdal Marathon 200km 13 dogs 11th
2013 Finnmark Race 500km 8 dogs 32nd/70
2013 Femund Race 400km 8 dogs 67th/100
2013 Gausdal Marathon 200km 8 dogs 22nd
2012 Polarhund Race 100km 8 dogs 11th
2011 La Grande Odyssee 10 dogs stages 1-7
2006-09 UK Sprint Races 1-6 dogs 2nd, 3rd & top 10s
RANKING & HISTORY
UK Number 1 - Elite Class 2016
UK Number 1 - Elite Class 2014
First Briton to finish 600km Femund Race
UK Number 1 - Limited Class 2013
First British Woman to finish Femund Race
EXPEDITIONS & OTHER
2016 April Mountain Expedition 350km 42 dogs (6 teams)
2016 March Wilderness Expedition 400km 35 dogs (5 teams)
2016 January Winter Expedition 300km 32 dogs (4 teams)
2015 April Exploration Expedition 300km 14 dogs (1 team)
2015 Editor for Femund Race
2015 Opened Femund Race for NRK TV
There are many great sleddog races around the globe. The United States, Norway, Sweden, Canada and France are where you will find most of the Elite Class (Long Distance) races that attract the World's top competitors. The sport is growing rapidly and each year more races are announced, prize monies are raised, more dogs enjoy doing what they were born to do and more human athletes go pro. Like many sports, Dogsled Racing came about from historic roots, with many heroic stories of greatness, kindness and love and some stories of practices that belong firmly in the past. Today; traditions are embraced and hero's remembered, but like the ancient Gladiators compared to current Olympians, the modern sport and it's athletes are a 21st century version. With modern day morals, professionalism and a scientific approach to understand and produce the best training, welfare and nutritional practices for both canine and human athletes. The healthier, happier, fitter and stronger the dogs, the better their performance at races. With new speed records, scientific discoveries and media technology advances its a massively exciting time for the sport!
the ENDURANCE athlete
In a long distance race; ''the dogs are the real athletes'', is absolutely true, no matter who you are, the human will always be the weakest link in a sled dog team! The dogs are quite simply designed to run long distances and thrive in arctic conditions.
In todays races, the human also needs to be an athlete. Driving huskies for thousands of miles, across mountain ranges, in extreme weathers requires training and fitness. In European races, it is a rare break to be stood or sat on the sled as most trails are climbing, descending or side-sloping mountains all the way, through soft and deep snow. The dogs are strong, fit, super athletes, helping them out means you go further faster.
The physical athleticism and endurance demands of the training program is much more than actual competitions. During a race, Mushers will run the uphill parts pushing the sled, followed by heaving, braking and clinging onto that sled, down mountains with a pulling force of a family car, plus 'scooting/peddling' all the in betweens. All whilst wearing 15kg of Arctic clothing, running in deep snow, on high exposed mountains with -40c blizzards as standard, throughout both day and night. From start to finish, mushers will be on their feet for 22hrs/day for 2-10 days.
The dogs training comes first and takes 12-18 hours a day for around a year before races. Instead of going to bed when finished, Mushers then need to train themselves to be able to keep up with the dogs as best as possible. So cancel your Gym membership and sign up for a sleddog race!
This training, prepares the Dogs and Musher for all the physical and mental demands of racing. The Musher's work doesn't end when the dogs stop for a rest or in a checkpoint. Unlike other sports, where half-time or timeout means the athlete can take a breather, eat orange segments and receive a massage or physio, in a sleddog race the musher must look after their 8-14 canine team mates! The musher's job changes from Athlete to Physio, Vet, Cook, Outdoorsman. Before the musher eats, drinks, rests or even visits the toilet, there is 1-2 hours of important jobs to do; feeding, bedding down, massaging and caring for the dogs. But for most Mushers that is the most rewarding part of racing; caring for their best friends.