CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Hertfordshire Life today CLICK HERE

5 minutes with dog sled racer Kim Franklin

PUBLISHED: 06:00 30 July 2016

Kim at the finish, 1,000 miles and 12 days later (Photo: Chris Burton)

Kim at the finish, 1,000 miles and 12 days later (Photo: Chris Burton)

Chris Burton

The Cottered 50-year old who took on the Last Great Race on Earth, driven solo by huskies 1,000 miles across the wilds of Alaska

Thrown from her sled, Kim's husky team ran on into the darkness - 'an awful night'Thrown from her sled, Kim's husky team ran on into the darkness - 'an awful night'

You were the only British woman in the 2016 Iditarod Great Sled Race, what was your motivation to take part?

It was mainly my love of huskies and working with them. I bought my first husky in 1988 and have had Alaskan malamutes and Siberian huskies at home ever since. Racing them in the UK led to my interest in long distance races in Alaska. After my second visit to Alaska to follow the Iditarod in 2006, I knew I wanted to give it a try and ran my first mid-distance race in January 2007. I was absolutely hooked. I loved the thrill, the skill of the dogs, and the scenery. I also knew it would be a huge personal challenge.

How did you train for 12 days and nights of polar racing?

I spent two winters based in Alaska training with Dean Osmar, a former Iditarod champion and trained with the dogs on a daily basis. I also completed in several qualifying races. It gave me an opportunity to learn which dogs would work well and could build a bond. In 2015 I completed various races including the Gin Gin 200; they were a great experience to prepare me for the big race.

What were the greatest challenges?

The environment and getting acclimatized to the weather was a challenge. Then there was the race itself and the variety of terrain; this varies from mountains to stretches racing on frozen rivers and windblown sections of open trail. Lack of sleep was also a huge challenge, with periods of long concentration and looking after the dogs as a priority takes its toll. The weather can also be a huge challenge, although this year it was relatively kind to us, it can easily drop down to -50F.

What was the lowest point?

The worst part by far was when I lost my dog team. We hit a stump and I was thrown from the sled and the dogs carried on. Shaken, I went in search. It was cold, dark and in the complete wilderness and we ended up apart overnight. As frightening as it was for me, I feared for the dogs out in the wild. It was an awful night. The relief when we were reunited was immense. I couldn’t believe that none of them were injured. I was so pleased I could carry on and finish the challenge.

Most memorable moments?

There are so many memorable moments that will live with me. We received so much kindness from the volunteers and villagers. When I arrived at the Galena checkpoint with a broken sled an amazing local man fixed it for me. He did such a great job that although I could have changed my sled, I decided it was robust enough to take me all the way to the finish. Memorable moments included beautiful sunrises and sunsets. The climb over Little McKinley Mountain was stunning and dropping down on to the coast outside Nome as the sun came up will also stay with me forever.

Do you have any more adventures planned?

I would like to try some low-level eventing with my ex-racehorse Nulato. Then again, there is always the Yukon Quest!


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hertfordshire visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hertfordshire staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hertfordshire account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from People

Friday, December 7, 2018

Devon Life received this heartfelt letter from Mr Michael Thompson, of Torbay, which is felt particularly poignant to share with our website audience at this time of year

Read more
Friday, December 7, 2018

The actor Anthony Head talks to Bernard Bale about his love of animals and wildlife, and the countryside around his Somerset home

Read more
Friday, December 7, 2018

Talented singer brings home prestigious title after top performance

Read more
Thursday, December 6, 2018

Hanna Miraftab, newest star of hit TV series The Real Housewives of Cheshire, shares some insight into her life

Read more
Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Bursting with festive inspiration, KATE WILLIAMS seeks out the best presents for a perfect Devon Christmas

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Ballroom star and world class judge Gary Edwards has enjoyed an incredible career in dance, claiming 30 dance titles across the globe, followed by a stint as advisor to the Royal family of Brunei. Now a presenter on hit American show Dancing with the Stars, Denise Marshall caught up with the Romford-born star for the inside word on Strictly 2018!

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

As we mark the centenary of the end of world War I, Hannah Salisbury from the Essex Record Office reveals a unique insight into life at war during this bleak time | Words: Hannah Salisbury

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

We asked our very own Snowman to reveal his top cultural picks

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

We peek inside wildlife painter Catherine Ingleby’s Shurlock Row home, which she has transformed from a dated 70s relic into a colourful hive of creativity

Read more

Celebrating the centenary of women being allowed to vote in a UK General Election, we look at leading Kent ladies, then and now

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search