PARVILLE, Mo. -- A young woman from the metro is trying to secure a spot in the Swedish equivalent of the Iditarod, an annual long-distance sled dog race in Alaska.
Katie Cordray is vying for a spot in the Fjällräven Polar 2020, a dog sled race that began in the 1990s. But unlike the world-famous Iditarod, this race is for everyday people.
“It’s a 300-kilometer dog sledding adventure. It starts in Norway and ends in Sweden, and you kind of go back and forth between the border,” Cordray explained.
The event pairs 22 ordinary people with highly skilled sled dogs for a three-day expedition through the Scandinavian Arctic.
“They will send you out two days before the actual expedition starts and then they train you,” she said. "I think you start in a classroom and they tell you how to survive in the North Pole and then they train you how to load up the dogs, how to feed the dogs, how to actually dog sled.”
Past participants have faced blizzard-like conditions with temperatures more than 20 degrees below zero.
“They’re going to help you get to the finish line if it’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done,” Cordray said.
The contest to qualify for the Fjällräven Polar is split into 11 regions all over the world. Only two people are picked from each region. Katie is currently sitting in third place in North America with more than 3,100 votes.
“I grew up in Lathrop, Missouri, which I don’t even think it has 3,000 people in it, and so just the support from everyone, all these strangers voting and sharing my post has just been incredible,” she said.
Cordray, who has been an athlete all her life and now calls Parkville home, said she would’ve never imagined wanting to participate in a race like the Fjällräven Polar, but she’s more determined than ever to see it through.
“It would be the coolest experience ever, just being able to represent Kansas City, Missouri, and the Midwest in this worldwide competition,” Cordray said. “I know I can do anything I put my mind to.”
Fifty percent of the applicants are selected by popular vote, the other fifty percent by jury vote. Voting ends Wednesday, Dec. 11 at noon.
To help Cordray get to number one in North America, click this link.