Mr. Femundløpet: Robert Sørlie
Mr. Femundløpet himself is Robert Sørlie. No one knows the Femundløpet as he does. He has participated at all Femundløpet races ever since the start in 1990. This years race will be his 23rd, and he has won the race 9 times! This is really an achievement!
He is also, so far, the only honorary member of Femundløpet. Most mushers knows Robert, but we would still like to introduce Mr. Femundløpet for those who doesn’t know him that well. There are more and more audience to the sled dog sport, not only members of the musher environment. So we had a talk to learn Robert Sørlie better to know.
Robert can tell that he has had the interest of dogs almost all his life. It started when he watched out a Siberian husky at age of 7 or 8, back in the sixties. Only a 10 year period when he was a youngster he prioritized other activities. But from the age of 25 there has been dogs all the time – and soon he is 54!
Most of the year he is training the dogs 5 times a week. Only a couple of months during the summer there is a break. In the middle of the summer there is too hot for the dogs for training.
This must take a lot time – as he has about 3000 miles (4000-4500 km) of training before the Femundløpet. Robert himself also need to be in excellent shapes for such tough competitions, so he also need to have time for training.
But how are you able to manage, we asked: «Sled dog races becomes a life style, and I also get time for sports as my job as a fireman allows me to. When I’m at work I might get two good workouts a day», Robert tells.
But how can you do this, year after year, and what’s your motivation to keep on going, we asked him. «You have to have this motivation, and you have to enjoy it! And there is a driving force that you always think you can do better, even though I must admit to myself that it might not longer be true», says the man who has been a high level musher for almost 30 years.
When we ask Robert what he is doing the last days before the Femundløpet, he tells us that he is trying to relax but of course also is training his dogs. «It’s really important that you are fit for fight when you start at a race like the Femundløpet», he says.
We surely understand that musher and dogs need to be rested to participate the demanding F600-race. «I’ve realized»Robert says «that there is a really good idea that other people do the packing, and after all these years I’ve learned to trust that other people manage this job».
But he is not relaxing as much as he tells, as Monday morning he is visiting the TV2 studio for a direct morning TV-program. After this he is coming to Røros, to prepare for the F600-start on Thursday.
Comments from the musher environment.
Robert Sørlie is a well known person in the musher environment, so we have asked someone in this environment about him. We have only got positive comments: «HeHv
He is sort of mentor for the younger mushers. He is an idol for the young - , but also for the great mushers. He is a really generous person, and if his competitors ask to see his training diary, he will let them do that.»
Other says: «His way to run is a break through. Also in Alaska, and this made him win Iditarod as the first non-American musher. And he didn’t win only once, but twice. His way to run has affected the American mushers».
At last we heard: «No other is as complete as a musher as Robert is». At this point we realized why he has made it all that well as a musher.
We wish Robert and all other mushers participating F600, F400 or Femund Junior all the best during the race!
(Source: Website of Team Sørlie)
Robert is the most winning Norwegian long distance musher. He has:
- Won the Femundløpet 9 times, and participated and completed all the Femundløpet races from the very beginning. He will now participate for the 23. time.
- Won the Finnmarksløpet (1000 km) 3 times.
- Won Amundsen Race 2008, second place 2009.
- Won Iditarod in Alaska twice, 2003 and 2005. Rookie of the year 2002, and he was the first Norwegian and European to win the worlds longest sled dog race – Iditarod (1800 km).
- Second place at La Grande Odyssè 2009, even though he meant his dogs weren’t ideal for that race.