When I ask people about Sigrid the first thing they mention is her connection with her dogs. It’s hard not to notice her at races, with her high pitched Norwegian babbling as her dogs wag their tails approvingly. She scratches them behind their ears, they lick her face. The love is mutual.
Sigrid Ekran is a Norwegian dog musher. She is a professionally sponsored athlete who’s favourite thing is to spend 10 hours on a sled through wild winter landscapes. She’s run every long-distance dog race she’s had access to, won many of them, and through it all it’s the journey and not destination she loves the most. Second to the journey is winning the veterinarian award for best dog care, which she wins often. Third is winning races.
She’s the youngest person to win Finnmarskløpet, a race across the frozen arctic tundra of northern Norway, and she’s placed as high as 11th in the most famous dog-race of them all: the Iditarod. She also is the holder of two World Championship titles.
The second thing people notice about Sigrid is her competency. She is a petite woman with a big smile and an intriguing personality, and that combination can be very disarming to her competitors as she passes them one by one.
Racing dogs is not about human power and strength, it’s about endurance, wit and an ability to communicate with dogs.
She ran her first long-distance sled dog race in 2007, the Iditarod, where she placed at 20th as Rookie of the Year, surpassing many as she got held up by food poisoning and a broken nose along the way. She has since won race after race after race, proving to everyone she’s a contender in a sport where men and women compete on equal terms.
She now lives on a small farm in the middle of Norway, surrounded by undeveloped land, her dogs, her Highland cattle and with the responsibility of protecting a large piece of Norwegian tundra she inherited from an old neighbour.
This is the story of a life outside, of Sigrid Ekran climbing to the top without ever loosing sight of her main motivation: the journey with her dogs.