January 26, 2017 / 11:58 PM / 7 months ago

Dog sled teams charge through Czech mountains in annual race

DESTNE, Czech Republic (Reuters) - With a police patrol and handlers fueled by hot rum tea, around 80 dog sled teams from across Europe are racing through the Czech Republic's Orlicke mountains in the annual Sedivackuv Long race.

The four-day trek over a 239 km (148 miles) stretch near the Polish border, now in its 21st year, will conclude on Saturday, with more than 600 dogs taking part.

Handlers, known as mushers, have been buoyed by heavy snow fall in the region.

"Finally after six bad years it is splendid. Lots of snow, well prepared tracks, real frosty winter weather, marvelous," Czech musher Roman Habasko said.

The event is named after a Siberian Huskey called Sedivak, who was shot by a local resident after running off before the start of the first ever race.

Police have been deployed along the route to ensure safety for dogs and participants, with helpers handing out hot drinks to mushers as temperatures fall below minus four degrees Celsius (24F).

Writing by Patrick Johnston in LONDON; Editing by Susan Fenton

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