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One such in Russia: The Elizovsky Sprint race took place in Kamchatka

The teams went through the forest and the second largest city in the region.

One such in Russia: The Elizovsky Sprint race took place in Kamchatka
Photo: Photos provided by the press service of the administration of Elizovsky district
“Let's go faster! What do you mean why? It’s not known how to make your way to a good place. Hurry, I say! ” This is the first thing that I hear when I arrived at the venue of the Yelizovsky Sprint in Kamchatka. An agitated teenager of 12 years drags the hand of his father, leisurely walking in front of me from the bus to the scene of the main events - the start of the dog sledding race, which for the eighth time passes in Yelizovo, the second largest city in the region, on the eve of the legendary Beringia.

The weather outside is unusually good for the Kamchatka spring. March on the peninsula is unpredictable - snowstorms can be expected any day. But this year we were lucky - although it is frosty, the sun is shining, which cheers up. 

“Okay, let's run!” The man answers to his son's request, and together they quickly leave. Everyone who came to the holiday is in a hurry. It is physically impossible to count even the approximate number of guests per square meter. Everyone is in a hurry - soon the start of the mushers - the main characters of this day. 

In the meantime, all those who arrived hear shots in the distance and watch the hunters, especially for whom an amateur biathlon has been organized here for several years now. Their task is to overcome the route on hunting skis, without sticks, and then also to make an accurate shot at the targets. In fact, it is the hunters who give the start to all the festive events of the Elizovsky Sprint. Their competition is the first in the program, even before the start of the main race. 



On the other site we see snowboarders. Especially for them here prepared a special slope, and athletes gather a lot of spectators, who are ready to watch the tricks of the fans of this extreme sport with pleasure. 

I would like to note that even if someone came to the “Elizovsky Sprint” in a bad mood, then on the way to the main launch site he will hardly be able to save it: on the way I met many animators who are glad to everyone, here is a photo zone to make a report for social networks or loved ones, there are shopping arcades with hot tea, coffee and pies. In general, the organizers took care of the comfort of the guests of the holiday and that they did not freeze - after all, spring is quite frosty in Kamchatka.

Well, in vain I didn’t listen to the boy I met at the bus stop - I’m definitely not going to get to good places at the start of the race, but you can watch the dogs from afar. And now the first team is ready for the start of the competition and under the general rumble of the crowd goes on the route, then the second, the third…. A total of 15 participants gathered this year "Elizovsky Sprint".

“There are no analogues in this race in Russia. She's the only one. Now they will go from here through the forest, and then to the city. Yes, yes, right through the streets and courtyards. And then they will come back to us, ”explains a volunteer who stopped next to me to a group of tourists or businessmen from China, whose translator enthusiastically conveys all the words to the guests of Kamchatka. “In total, more than 11 km of the way they need to go,” adds the volunteer.  



No race similar to this in our country really exists. No, they run dog sleds not only in Kamchatka, but so that right along the busy city streets - this is nowhere else. And here we must pay tribute to the organizers, mainly the Yelizovsky District Administration. Not every municipality official will dare to do this - to lay a track near houses and roads so as not to disrupt the life of the city and to ensure the entertainment of the competition. 



After the main start of the mushers, we talk about this with the head of the Elizovsky district, Roman Vasilevsky, who, however, does not think that from a technical point of view, these competitions are very difficult. “There is experience and a large team working on the organization. There is equipment that we take from sports schools, there is a landscaping service - everyone works together and is very harmonious. The main task is to do everything quickly and also quickly disassemble after the end of the race, since the infrastructure of the city must be restored to its former form for the convenience of residents. The work of the volunteers should be noted here, they, in particular, are on duty in difficult areas, ensuring safety and the necessary assistance. Everything has been brought to automatism, ”the Head assures. 

The Yelizovsky Sprint is a satellite race of the world famous Beringia, whose participants will cover more than 1300 km this year. The main difference between the Eliza competitions is that spectators can watch the race participants throughout the entire route, and not only at the start and finish. Accordingly, people stand and get sick right along the tracks, and someone does not leave the house at all, watching everything that happens from a window or from a balcony.   

“We have a well-coordinated team of organizers, volunteers, sponsors, district council and many people who participate in this event. Our men didn’t let us down, who might have wanted to be at the start of the Beringia in Esso, but came to us, because the Elizovsky sprint became their own race for them. You know, our race is special and difficult, as it passes through the city ... I think that people get pleasure - both the mussels, and those who came to the stadium, and those who met them in Yelizovo are all happy. It seems to me that this is the most important thing, ”concluded Roman Vasilevsky and was distracted by the finish, to which Natalia Orekhova, repeated champion of various competitions in riding sports, had already arrived. It took 28 minutes and 12 seconds to win.  

Natalia Orekhova called the race “Elizovsky Sprint” one of her favorite competitions. “Steep descents, steep ascents. The city is generally a special part of the route. As they drove through the city center, the residents greeted us, cheered us up. It was so nice that the smile never left his face, ”the musher noted.

The rest of the mushers also finished after Natalia. Everyone received their prizes, gifts, and most importantly - audience love and recognition. But the holiday did not end there - the skijoring competition began. Translated from Norwegian skikjoring means "pull skis". This kind of team sport involves one or more dogs pulling the skier. Meanwhile, various creative teams perform on the stage, and specially at the invitation of the organizers of the Elizovsky Sprint VIA Leisya, Song International has also visited.

“Be sure to write that Kamchatka is a unique place,” a young stranger interrupts my impressions of the concert. It turns out that she and her friends flew to the peninsula to go skiing - the company is a national team, there is even a couple from Germany, but Catherine, as she introduced herself, is from Moscow herself. 



When asked how she found herself at the festival, Catherine replies that the administration of the hotel where she stayed with friends organized a special bus, which brought everyone to the Yelizovsky Sprint. 

“I just noticed the words“ press ”on your clothes. Write that tourists are delighted with your region. We have heard a lot about Kamchatka, but hearing and visiting here are different things. You have amazing nature, you have wonderful people. And this race is incredible. I was allowed to chat and take pictures with the dogs, everyone is so affectionate! I have only positive emotions, ”my new friend almost screams with joy. 

The fact that the "Elizovsky Sprint" is an attractive event for tourists is also said by the head of the Elizovsky District Duma, Andrey Shergaldin. He believes that everything that happens is a great holiday not only for the residents of Elizov, but also for all residents and guests of Kamchatka. “This is such a visiting card. People are interested in advance when the Elizovsky Sprint will take place. A lot of people come. Young people, pensioners, the House of Invalids has brought wheelchair users. This is a holiday for everyone. The holiday is at an excellent level, "Shergaldin says.

My interlocutor is sure that “Elizovsky Sprint” is worthy of a place in the calendar of tourist events. “We have a lot to show tourists. There are folk crafts, there are fur products, various original souvenirs, which I am sure travelers will like. When people go to Kamchatka, I think they still see our holiday in the calendar and plan their route. Given the pace with which tourism is developing on the peninsula, I think the Elizovsky Sprint has a high tourism potential and soon our race will be on the calendar of all travelers and will attract them to our region, ”concluded Andrei Shergaldin.  

And tourists are already flying and specially go to the "Elizovsky Sprint". In a few hours I met people from Moscow, Volgograd, Belarus, Ukraine, saw delegations from China and Korea. Residents of other parts of Kamchatka also come to Elizovo. In total, there were about 13-15 thousand people in the Valley of Comfort during the holiday - for the region this is a huge number of people in one place. 

“Elizovsky Sprint” is not just a unique race that passes through the city streets, it is also the preservation and development of national traditions, it is one of the levers of promoting riding dog breeding, which in recent years in Kamchatka hundreds, if not thousands of local residents have been keen on ... 

... The Elizovsky Sprint is over, and the legendary Beringia kicked off in March in Esso, Kamchatka, on 4.
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