Special rules

Special Rules for the Finnmark Race.

updated February 2018

It is the Sports Committee of the Finnmark Race that is responsible for the Special rules of the Finnmark Race.

The Finnmark Race is to be ruled according to the Norwegian Sleddog Association as well as in accordance with the Special Rules stated here, and that are given based on the LR. The following rules and policies apply in addition to the NHF LR for the Finnmark Race (hereafter known as 'FL', its Norwegian acronym):


The Finnnmark Race FL-1200 and FL-500 shall be open to all participants who have qualified according to the requirements set by the Sports Committee for the Finnmark Race (see registration).


The Finnmark Race is an international sleddog race with two classes. FL-1200 shall not consist of more than 14, minimum dogs at the starting point, and minimum 6 dogs when finishing. FL-500 shall not consist of more than 8, minimum 6 dogs at the starting point, and minimum 5 dogs when finishing.


The goal of the Finnmark Race is to complete a sleddog competition where it is found out which participant and dogs that can cover the race distance in the shortest amount of time possible. The race shall be carried out only with the power of the participant and his/her dogs, and without assistance from others on-trail or on stalling areas at the checkpoints. The participant with his/her dogs must be equipped and fit for handling the various weather conditions one can expect to meet in Finnmark. The Finnmark Race takes place on premises set by nature, where weather and trail conditions can vary according to where the participant finds him/herself at any given time. The participant should possess excellent outdoor and survival skills as well as excellent skills in caring for the dogs. This in order to make the best possible judgements for him/herself and their dog team during the race.


Information regarding media/press during the FL:

The media/press shall adhere to the FL guidelines regarding contact with/interviews with participants during the race. The following information will be provided to the media/press:

The participant shall arrive at the checkpoint, stall up the dog team, get the depot bag, take of dogs' socks, provide the dogs with straw and start the food boiler. Only after that will the participant be available for media/press by request. However, it is permitted to take photos or film during this period, though at a distance and without disturbing the participant.


Special Rules

#1 Dogs: All dogs that participate in the Finnmark Race shall be marked with an ID chip. In addition, each dog must be marked with an FL tag on its necklace during the race. Tags are provided at the pre-race registration. (We recommend putting the tag on the dog necklace on the day the race starts.)


#2 Start: The junior and the 500 class starts with 1-minute intervals. For the 1200 class, the interval is 2 minutes between teams. The  drawing of start numbers takes place on Thursday before race start.


#3 On midday Friday before race start there is a show start in Alta city centre for the FL-500 participants. Some of the 500 entrants will be chosen by drawing to do this show race. The participant will have a passenger in their sled and run a show start trail around Alta. Important! The participant must provide a functional sled for this purpose.
More details about this will be given through e-mails and in race meeting Thursday before race start.


Participants are to show up Friday before race start on the allocated parking spot. The participants are to start with six dogs and bring a handler that can help out. All dogs participating in the show start must have been approved on their pre-race check.


More information about the show start will be provided at the mushers' meeting.



#4 Bib/advertising

The participants are required to wear advertising/GPS tracking device on themselves, and/or on their sled. The FL advertising is to be worn by the participant throughout the entire race, including during start, finishing and at award ceremonies according to guidelines provided by the Finnmark Race. NB: All participants must wear their bib clearly visible from start to checkpoint Kautokeino and from checkpoint Karasjok to the finish. The handler of each musher shall wear his/her own orange handler vest at all checkpoints.


#5 Public roads: It is not permitted to follow public roads in other places than where the organisers have decided. Information will be provided at the mushers' meeting.

#6 Control stations (checkpoints):

FL-1200 participants shall personally check in (and out at mandatory rests) at the following control stations: Kautokeino – Jergul - Levajok I - Tana - Neiden I - Øvre Pasvik - Kirkenes –Neiden II – Varangerbotn - Levajok II - Karasjok - Joatka II.


FL-500 participants shall personally check in and out at the following control stations: Jotka I – Kautokeino - Jergul – Valjok - Karasjok  – Jotka II.

NB: Jotka I and II is a staffed wildlife checkpoint for both classes. In addition, Valjok is a staffed wildlife checkpoint for FL-500 and Øvre Pasvik for FL-1200. Wildlife checkpoints have the same status as the others checkpoints of the FL. The participant may be requested to stop for vet controls on all checkpoints.


#7 Mandatory stops: FL-1200 has two mandatory stops: One 16-hour stop that is to be taken after Jotka I and no later than at Varangerbotn. One 10-hour stop that can be split in two at checkpoint Levajok II and Karasjok. At least two of the 10 mandatory hours must be taken out at checkpoint Karasjok, where there is a mandatory vet control. All mandatory stops shall be taken at FL checkpoints.


FL-500 has a rest pool of 22 hours. Minimum two hours plus starting time alignment shall be taken at Joatka 1. Six hours shall be taken at Karasjok, where there is a mandatory vet control. The remaining hours shall be taken at one or more of the following checkpoints: Jotka I, Kautokeino, Jergul, Valjok.
The rest pool of FL-500 is to be taken in full minutes.

The participant shall personally check in and out to complete all mandatory stops. No mandatory stops can be combined at one and the same checkpoint.


Each participant is responsible for his or her starting time difference being aligned at the mandatory 16 hrs rest for FL-1200 and at Jotka 1 for FL-500.


FL-1200 The last deadline for checking out from cp Karasjok is midnight night before Sunday one week after race start. The race marshal/jury may extend the deadline in case of extreme weather or other special conditions.


#8 Depot:

The following checkpoints are depot stations:

FL-1200: Kautokeino – Jergul - Levajok I - Tana - Neiden I - Kirkenes - Neiden II - Varangerbotn - Levajok II - Karasjok

FL-500: Kautokeino - Jergul – Valjok - Karasjok


#9 Depot bags are to be packed responsibly and marked with the participant's name and name of the depot station for which the bag is meant. IMPORTANT: Fuel for cooking utensils / boilers is not permitted in depot bags. There is no limit on total weight permitted, nor on number of depot bags. Each bag shall be no more than 20 kg.


Depot bags are to be brought to the checkpoint by the race organiser.


For submission of depot bags – see the Race Programme for further information.

Participants must bring the bags onto the cargo ramp and mark on a form together with a race official how many bags that have been submitted for each checkpoint. Bags left on the ground will be left behind. The depot trailers leave Alta Thursday at 15:00 hrs. Information regarding the depot arrangements can be obtained at the registration offices. The FL is not responsible for the participants' depot bags with regard to mild weather, stray dogs etc.


#10 Equipment: Outsiders/handlers shall not be involved with the depot other placing it in its right place on the checkpoint and picking up equipment there.


In this context, equipment refers to: Snow anchor – dog coats – blankets – batteries – wrist warmers – heat ointment – paw socks – paw ointment – sled runner plastics – fuel for boiler/cooker. This equipment is to be placed on the allocated depot area in soft packaging (plastic bags or similar). Everything that is provided for the participant in this manner can be controlled by the TD / race marshal / race official. Everything the participant wants to leave at a checkpoint shall be brought to the depot area by the participant and can be gathered there by outsiders.


#11 Aid / Assistance: At the control stations, the dog teams are not permitted to receive any other assistance except for what is required to steer and halt the team, unless otherwise decided by checkpoint manager/TD/race marshal.


#12. Dogs / control stations:

#12 A: It is not permitted to take dogs into houses, dog boxes or similar at the control stations, except if necessary for vet examination. The participant may nevertheless take dog/s into his/her own tent brought on the sled from the beginning of the race.


12 B: The race TD and/or race marshal, in cooperation with the race veterinarian, shall have the absolute authority over dog teams that participate in the Finnmark Race.


Their decision about exempting a dog or dogs from the race, or other decisions related to dog care / animal welfare shall be final.


All dogs will be looked at and/or examined, as far as possible, at all checkpoints.


The race veterinarian in cooperation with the race marshal or TD can withhold dog teams at any checkpoint should they consider it necessary to maintain the dog teams health.


No dog teams may leave a checkpoint until the dogs of that team are fit to continue the race.


#12 C: The team/dogs shall leave the stalling area/checkpoint without the use of force. It is not permitted to pull or yank the dogs out from the stalling area/checkpoint when the team is to leave the checkpoint.


#13 Animal welfare and health

The FL is to be conducted with particular attention to the dogs' welfare and health. The FL as organiser and FL participant both have mutual responsibility for the race's dogs.


1) The participant of the Finnmark Race is at all times in charge of caring for, feeding and ensuring their dogs' welfare and health according to the dogs' needs. Both their own dogs as well as those of other participants are to be treated with respect and kindness. Participants shall participate and manage their race based on their own team's condition, physical health preconditions and status, and take into consideration how the weather and trail conditions affect the dogs during the race. Violation of the rule may cause disqualification from the race.


2) Dogs that are injured or that are not able to continue the race due to health and/or fitness reasons are to be brought in the sled to the next checkpoint for consideration by a FL veterinarian.
No dogs shall limp when arriving or leaving checkpoint/finish line. Violation of the rule may cause disqualification from the race.

3) Dogs that have been deemed unfit for further participation by a FL veterinarian are injured or that are unable to continue the race due to health and/or fitness reasons shall be dropped from the race at the first checkpoint possible. Dogs that fall over/drop down shall never continue the race, but be brought in the sled to the next checkpoint and dropped from the race. Dogs that are/have been overheated shall never continue the race, but are to be brought in the sled to the next checkpoint and dropped from the race.
Violation of the rule may cause disqualification from the race. 

FL race veterinarians will be available at all checkpoints and provide the same service to all dogs participating in the race. 

The race veterinarians shall at all times to the best of their abilities, based on the medical and diagnostic equipment available, facilities available and field conditions, examine and provide adequate treatment of all dogs participating in the race.


#14 Dead dog: If a dog during the race should die on-trail between checkpoints, it is to be brought to the first next checkpoint, or to the last passed checkpoint. The dog is to be brought in the sled and be covered when arriving at the checkpoint. The participant shall as soon as possible notify the race management as represented by the TD, race marshal and/or race vet. The participant many only continue the race after obtaining permission to do so from the TD, race marshal and/or race vet. The participant may be disqualified from further participation if it based on investigations should turn out that the participant is found at fault in abusing the dog or in other ways have caused the dog's death. The participant may also be disqualified if he/she at an earlier checkpoint has been told (Vet handbook) to drop the dog, unless the dog's death is due to entirely different circumstances. The participant may also be disqualified if the cause of death is dehydration or overheating. The start and finish line are also considered stations in this context. Should and autopsy of the dog be required, the costs thereof shall not be required covered by the participant.

The race manger and head of veterinary can, at certain climatic conditions, determine that dead dog are retrieved outside checkpoint if this is necessary to ensure sample quality for any necropsy.


#15 Assistance between checkpoints: No kind of help or aid from the outside or from outsiders is permitted between the control stations. The exceptions to this rule are emergencies and sled casualties that prove impossible to repair on-site. TD / race marshal should in such cases be notified and approve of such help.


#16 Care and provisions: All care and provisions for dogs, equipment control, preparation of dog food and feeding of dogs shall take place in field manner and only be conducted by the dog team's participant in the area thereto allocated at the checkpoints. It is only permitted to collect cold water for the preparation of dog food. Cold water may be collected in buckets or cans that is brought on the sled. If using a cooler or equivalent equipment this must be brought on the sled from the start, or be sent with depot gear in the FL depot car. Coolers or equivalent equipment that is taken out from the designated/allocated area may not be brought back in again.


#17 Dropped dog: Dog-dropping is allowed on all checkpoints.

Entrants in the 500 and 1200 class also has the possibility to drop dog at Sorrisniva, 15 km after race start. 
Dog(s) shall be delivered to FL-officials and entrants must notify handler asap that dogs must be picked up at Sorrisniva.

All dogs that are dropped from the race are to go through a mandatory vet control on the checkpoint where the dog is dropped. The participant is responsible for the control being conducted; however, he/she may leave this responsibility with his/her handler. At the wildlife checkpoints Øvre Pasvik and Valjok, Jotka I and II the participant himself/herself is responsible for the dropped dog to undergo the mandatory vet control.


All dogs that are dropped from the race shall be entered into the vet handbook "Journal Dropped Dog". The reason for the dog's being dropped shall be noted, and an FL race vet shall sign off on having conducted the vet control on the dog/s.


The participant must mark the dropped dog in the vet book "Journal Team." If a participant scratches from the race, all dogs in that team are to be controlled by a veterinarian on the checkpoint where the participant scratches from the race. The vet control is mandatory and shall be signed off in the vet book "Journal Team."


Participants that have not hat the mandatory vet controls on dog/s conducted and signed off in the vet book "Journal Team", or by scratched race, will automatically be disqualified.


The vet book "Journal Team" is to be brought in the participant's sled during the entire race, and the "Journal Dropped Dog" shall be in the handler car throughout the race. Dogs that are dropped at checkpoints are to be handed over to handler/support car.


Dogs that are dropped at cp Øvre Pasvik must be delivered with sufficient dog food supplies for 48 hours. Dogs that are dropped at cp Øvre Pasvik will be transported to the Kirkenes area, where the handler must pick up the dog. Dogs that are dropped at cp Valjok (FL-500) must be delivered with sufficient dog food supplies for 24 hours. Dogs that are dropped at cp Valjok must be picked up by handler as soon as possible. For the 500 class there is also a dog drop at Masi on the leg between Jotka 1 and Kautokino. If dog(s) are dropped in Masi, handlers must pick up the dog as soon as possible.



#18 Vet control and health control of dogs: 


Mandatory pre-race check-up: All dogs that are to participate in FL-Jr, FL-500 and FL-1200 must go through a mandatory pre-race check-up.

Mandatory vet controls: In FL-500 there is one mandatory vet control at cp Karasjok, in addition to mandatory vet control at the finish line.

FL-1200 has three mandatory vet controls, in addition to mandatory vet control at the finish line. One is to be taken electively at either Tana or Neiden I, the next at Neiden 2 or Varangerbotn, the last at cp Karasjok.

The participant is responsible for having the mandatory vet controls signed off in his/her "Journal Team" book by one of the FL race veterinarians.

In addition to the mandatory veterinary checks, regular veterinary checks by FL race veterinarians are conducted at all FL checkpoints where the participant stops. A team mushing trough one checkpoint without stopping shall at the minimum have a regular veterinary inspection by FL race veterinarians at the next checkpoint in the trail. However, FL Veterinarians, TD and Race Leader, have the authority to demand a dog or a team examined if there is doubt about the health of a dog or a team, or ability to continue throughout the course. This applies regardless of whether the driver plans to stop at the checkpoint or not.


Recheck is a second veterinary check of a single dog or team where FL veterinarians find this necessary to safeguard the health of the dog/ dogs in the best possible way. A recheck can be ordered to be completed at the checkpoint the participant is located and / or at the next checkpoint the participant comes to. The completed recheck must be signed by one of the FL race veterinarians, and the musher is responsible for completing and signing the check in the veterinary journal team.

A participant who refuses to have veterinary checks, or leaves a checkpoint/ finishes the race without having conducted, signed and approved mandatory veterinary checks and recheck will be automatically disqualified.

A mandatory veterinary check at the finish must be conducted and approved before a participants race is approved.

The veterinary books "journal team" and "journal dropped dog" must be submitted to one of the FL veterinarians at the finish, or at the checkpoint the participant scratches the race. A check of all the dogs in a team is mandatory before leaving the checkpoint if a team scratches.


Veterinary treatment of dogs pre-race and doping.

Participants who bring dogs that have been treated by a veterinarian / treatment are completed within 28 days before starting at Finnmarksløpet shall:

- Bring the dog to examination by one of FL race veterinarians.

- Bring documentation (epicrisis / journal) from his treating veterinarian to the race veterinarian in FL.

The documentation shall contain an assessment based on the diagnosis and the treatment given if it is acceptable within welfare and health of the dog that it is allowed to start in Finnmarksløpet.

If such an assessment can not be clarified at the time of treatment, the treating veterinarian may give FL race veterinarian the final assessment authority.

If the treating veterinarian does not approve the dog to start in Finnmarksløpet, it can not be started.

A race veterinarian may, upon examination of the dog/s before start, override the approval of the treating veterinarian if the race veterinarian does not approve that the dog/s are fit to start in Finnmarksløpet. 

A dog that has been diagnosed and treated for pneumonia can not start until 3 months after the end of treatment. If the disease was within the last 6 months, the dog must be approved for start of FL race veterinarians.

Finnmarksløpet follows the NHF and IFSS`s current doping regulations. Updated doping rules are available on NHF websites under "anti-doping".


#19 Violation of rules conducted by the participant, handler/s or other outsiders may lead to disqualification of the participant. Should a participant or someone from his/her handler team act unduly towards FL race officials, volunteers, other participants, press or the general public, this will lead to disqualification of the participant in question.


#20 Securing dogs in races

1) There must be wire in the gangline, all wire must be padded.

2) All dogs in the team must be fastened with neckline and tuglines if using long harnesses. Neckline is not required for the lead dogs.

3) If the participant uses short harnesses, the tug line must be properly secured against chafing from dogs. When using short harnesses, neck lines are not required. The tug line must be padded i fusing short harness. The length of the tug line must be no longer than 40 cm using short harnesses. Note: The participant with his dog sled must have trained with short harnesses before racing Finnmarksløpet. Teams who run with short harnesses must not be a problem to other entrants.

4) All participants must, however, secure their dogs at check point/rest with the necklines of wire witch must be at least 40 cm long. Tuglines made of padded wire can be used as a nackeline at checkpoints

5) When entering in areas with reindeer, the participant is responsible for ensuring that the dogs in their team dont cause any harm to the reindeers. The participant is liable for damages if a dog causes direct damage to the reindeer.

6) Participant may be disqualified by violation of #20

7) Drivers with short harnesses must have an additional line set with necklaces available in the handler car to be able to swap when needed. Replacement must be approved by TD.


#21 Reflection: The sled must have reflection tape on both sides of the handlebar (min. 10 cm) that is highly visible in the dark.
There must also be reflection on the collar of the lead dog(s) or on the neckline between the lead dogs. The musher must at all times wear a lot of reflection on both the front and back of the jacket.


#22. Runner plastic: Plastic can be shipped in food drop bags or with outsiders/in the handler's vehicle. Only the musher is allowed to change plastic runners on his/her sled.


#23 Change of sled: If a sled is damaged beyond repair, it may be replaced. The replacement must be approved by the race judge/race marshal/checkpoint official.

Apart from this, the musher may only receive an empty sled twice during the race. Trailers that are set in during the race are considered sled replacement.


#24 The sled: 

A sled shall be equipped with an adequate brake, a brush bow, snow hook, and an adequately ventilated sled bag. The ventilation must have a minimum size of 600 cm2.
The musher's sled must be suited for carrying the musher. The sled and the sled bag must be big enough to have room for at least one dog while pulling the sled in addition to mandatory equipment. 


#25 Repair of sled:  If a musher wants to remove an empty sled from the designated area to repair it, he/she must obtain approval from the TD/race marshal/ checkpoint official.


#26 No man's land is from the bridge in Øvre Alta (just downstream from Strand Camping) and to the finish line.


#27 Rookie/first-time musher: The musher must complete the FL-500 or FL-1000 race (i.e. pass the finish line in the Finnmark Race) in order to relinquish his/her status as rookie/first-time musher. The musher has a rookie status when he/she starts in a new class for the first time, regardless of whether the musher has completed FL in another class.


#28 Poles: In the 500 km race, it is not permitted to use ski poles/push poles or similar. In the 1,000 km race, use of ski poles is permitted after Levajok 1. In such case, the musher must have transported the poles in the sled from the start. Poles cannot be supplied along the way. When using poles the musher must exercise extreme caution towards other mushers and their dog teams.


#29 Participant's suitability for completion of the course. 
The Finnmarksløpet race manager and/or jury can withdraw a contestant for further participation in the race. This is to protect the dogs, the participant and/or organizer's interests and security. The participant will be withdrawn if the dogs or participant can not safely or suitably continue in the race.


#31 Mandatory equipment:

The musher must always keep the following mandatory equipment in his/her sled (This equipment is subject to inspection at checkpoints and out on the trail. The musher can be disqualified in the event of missing mandatory equipment):


  • GPS with the the trail coordinates uploaded. (the coordinates will be posted on
    Finnmarksløpets websider) and map scale 1: 250.000 with tracks.
  • Vet book "Journal Team". Journal dropped dog shall be in the participant's handler's car.
  • Compass
  • Snow spade
  • Axe or long knife
  • Extreme winter sleeping bag (minimum 2,000 grams and suitable for -30C)
  • First aid equipment
  • Extreme winter clothing (with reflective material both in front and back that is clearly visible in the dark)
  • Extra set of clothing (underwear and outer clothes, socks and winter boots)
  • Eight booties per dog, including those in use
  • Head lamp and batteries
  • Light stick/signal flare (to be carried in pocket on person. 
  • Wire or chain for any dropped dogs handed over to the checkpoint official. There must be one length per dog in the team (minimum length of 40 cm). Drag Line with wire is approved for this use. At checkpoints, each dog in the team must be secured with wire or chain from the collar and out.
  • Reserve dog food for at least 24 hours. (500 grams per dog. The dog food must be packed by the musher, sealed by race officials and, under normal circumstances, brought to the finish line unused.)
  • Reserve food for the musher for at least 24 hours. This food must weigh at least 500 grams.
  • A functional water cooker (see description) and pot capable of heating a minimum of a half litre of water per dog.
  • Garbage bag
  • Extreme survival bag (windproof) that must weigh at least 1200 grams or an alternative to an extreme survival bag: a tent and normal windproof bag.
  • Rope to fasten oneself to the sled in areas populated by reindeer.


Mandatory equipment that is lost or damaged can be replaced from the food drop bag or from the musher's support team. The equipment must be presented to a race judge/race marshal/checkpoint official in order for them to approve the exchange/ replacement. Used booties, batteries, garbage bags, fuel to water cookers/Primus stove exempt and can, if desired, be replaced from the food drop bag or by the handler.


#31 Littering
Any form of littering is prohibited along the trail and may result in disqualification of the participant. It also includes a dog booties and dog food!



Comments from the Sports committee of Finnmarksløpet regarding some of the mandatory equipment:


Mushers-and first-time mushers, in particular- should read this carefully. It is important to understand that it is completely within the power of the race judge/race marshal to approve or reject equipment.


Snow shovel: It must be strong enough to penetrate hard or iced snow and suitable for digging a snow shelter. 
Axe or long knife: Many mushers tape a "Sami knife" to the sled. Regardless of this, have a knife attached to your person. A long knife or axe should have a minimum length of over 30 cm. 
First Aid equipment: Having only field dressings is not satisfactory. A minimum requirement is bandages, sports tape, field dressings, gauze dressing and painkiller tablets (non-prescription). Packing First Aid equipment in a waterproof container, for example a plastic bag, is recommended. 
Extra set of clothing: Underwear must be long sleeved/legged. Recommended outer clothing includes windproof trousers and jacket, thick socks and footwear that retains heat. 
Functional water cooker: Here, functional means that when departing all checkpoints, you have both matches and enough fuel (at least one litre). Matches should be packed watertight.
Dog food bowls and food ladles must be included in the sled from the start. It is not possible to obtain these items from the handler's vehicle.


Important: It is recommended packing extra clothes, sleeping bag and windproof bag in waterproof packaging.



The Primus stove is no longer mandatory equipment. However, those who use a tent should also have a Primus stove. 
The water cooker is an alternative to warming/boiling water (melted snow) but it is not recommended to use one inside a tent.
Sleeping mat: Highly recommended. It reduces the cooling effect of lying directly on snow. It can be packed easily by rolling it out along the length of the bottom of the sled bag. Repair equipment: We recommend that you carry with you various pieces of equipment in order to conduct simple repairs in the field. Examples include multitool, plastic strips, thin, strong rope and strong tape.




All participators must, based on the resources they have at their disposition, do his/hers utmost to accomplish a long-distance competition at his/her level.


A musher scratching from the race must report to the race judge as soon as possible. He/she is responsible for their own transportation, plus that of their dogs, equipment and food bags from the checkpoints.


A musher scratching from the race must report to the race judge as soon as possible. He/she is responsible for their own transportation, plus that of their dogs, equipment and food bags from the checkpoints.


A dog in the sled when arriving at a checkpoint will not be removed from the race unless the musher so desires.


The musher is permitted to sit on the sled.


Protests must be submitted in writing to race officials/judges within one hour of crossing the finish fine at the latest. A protest fee of NOK 100 applies.


Happy trails!